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Author Topic: Question about the Power of the Holy Cross?  (Read 1287 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: November 17, 2011, 01:05:48 PM »

As Christians, we believe that there is power in the Holy Cross.  I've read somewhere that many of our saints proclaimed that by making the sign of the cross, we ward off evil; a "physical" prayer of sorts.  If this is true of making the sign of the cross, then it must logically follow that wearing a cross can produce the same affect.  If this is true, what can be said of non-Christians wearing the cross as a clothing accessory participating in all sorts of debauchery?  What about when Christians participate in sin while wearing the cross?  I understand that the cross isn't a talisman, but what exactly are we talking about when we say It has power?  What kind of power?  What does this power do for us?  Is this power like a natural law such as gravity (gravity being true regardless of whether or not I believe in it)? 

All comments are welcome, but I'm really interested in comments from baptized Eastern Orthodox Christians. particularly our priests.
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 02:26:23 PM »

No one knows?  Too touchy a subject? 
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 02:30:29 PM »

good question...subscribing
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 03:34:11 PM »

-- subscribe --
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2011, 03:39:35 PM »

No one knows?  Too touchy a subject? 
Well, when you eliminate catechumens and inquirers from your respondent pool, you're losing about 78% of the people most likely to answer this question.  Kiss

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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2011, 03:43:54 PM »

I could throw out some EO patristic quotes. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2011, 03:59:42 PM »

The Cross is not a magical amulet. Nothing in the Orthodox Faith simply "works" a certain way because of what it is. (Not even the Eucharist is saving if taken in an unworthy manner; rather it is damning.)

The Cross is certainly powerful, but it requires the faith to back it up. I personally believe that the power of the Cross is available to all who have faith in Christ's death and resurrection, whether Orthodox or not.

But no, folks like violent gang members who wear Rosaries as bling are not, I don't think, being protected from demons simply because they wear a Cross.

(Yet, as with everything, we who are Orthodox will be held to the highest standard of all. So it does not behoove us to scoff at those gang members, because we *do* understand the Cross and still do not live as we should, often times.)

And if we do happen to sin while in the presence of grace (such as after communion, wearing the cross, before icons, etc.) if we don't repent I think it causes a hardening of heart. Of course, we can also immediately put on the Cross as protection too, so it still depends on the state of our faith, I think.
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 04:01:32 PM »

Slow start!

I think the Church Fathers quite clearly do teach there's power in the sign of the cross that is real and true whether or not we believe in it. That said, does my baptismal cross keep me from sin because I wear it? Of course not. Even wearing a relic of the True Cross would not do this. I could even destroy a relic of the True Cross, if I were so inclined. It has happened historically. As you said, the cross is not a talisman, and Christianity is not magic.

So, how to reconcile the absolute truth of power in the sign of the cross vis-a-vis our sinfulness in spite of having it everywhere? The cross, no matter how powerful it may be, does not deprive us of our own will. I can choose to "ignore" and even disdain (as many do) the power of the cross and live my own life without it. Often times, I do ignore or otherwise forget the cross that hangs around my neck.

However, many other times the power of the cross manifests itself to me. I see the crucifix on my wall, or on my prayer book laying on the table. I feel my baptismal cross tap against my chest. Sometimes, when I remember I'm wearing it, I pull it out and look at it for a second, usually crossing myself before putting it up. That's holy. That's sanctifying me, blessing me, in remembrance of the cross and it's saving power through our Lord. When this kind of attention is garnered by the cross from me on a particularly bad day, it helps center me. I spend at least a moment in prayer (even if that moment is just crossing myself), but that tends to linger in our minds, turning us to something more heavenly and in some way casting off earthly cares. That, I think, is the power of the cross for us. At least, it is for me. Granted, this doesn't stop me uttering a curse the very next moment when something goes wrong (which happens more often than I'd like to admit), but if not for my sinfulness, what spiritual heights would be achieved by meditation upon the Life-Giving Cross?

Just my two cents.
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 05:12:30 PM »

D'oh why can't my brain remember the quote it is thinking of??!!!

Where is GreekChef when I need her?  Angry
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 06:58:54 PM »

As Christians, we believe that there is power in the Holy Cross.  I've read somewhere that many of our saints proclaimed that by making the sign of the cross, we ward off evil; a "physical" prayer of sorts.  If this is true of making the sign of the cross, then it must logically follow that wearing a cross can produce the same affect.  If this is true, what can be said of non-Christians wearing the cross as a clothing accessory participating in all sorts of debauchery?  What about when Christians participate in sin while wearing the cross?  I understand that the cross isn't a talisman, but what exactly are we talking about when we say It has power?  What kind of power?  What does this power do for us?  Is this power like a natural law such as gravity (gravity being true regardless of whether or not I believe in it)? 

All comments are welcome, but I'm really interested in comments from baptized Eastern Orthodox Christians. particularly our priests.

The Cross does not override free will, nor does God. Make the sign of the Cross with pride and you'll draw the devil closer toward you. Wear a cross and sin, what benefit have you gained, who chose to sin, thus overriding faith in the power of the Cross through which the world is crucified to me and I to the world? The Holy Cross has power when combined with faith and humility. It is called an invincible weapon, and this is true. But in the hands or on the bodies of those who surrender to the enemy voluntarily it does not avail for the conquering of evil until the sinner repents and takes up the Cross again to fight. Then, the Holy Cross with the faith and penitence of the penitent repels whole hordes of demons, evil thoughts, and fallen nature itself.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 06:59:39 PM »

No one knows?  Too touchy a subject? 
Well, when you eliminate catechumens and inquirers from your respondent pool, you're losing about 78% of the people most likely to answer this question.  Kiss



We have not yet prayed for the elimination of all catechumens. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 07:03:44 PM »

There is an interesting story of the power of the Cross.

A young Greek man, sadly trained in sorcery to such a degree that he could summon demons, was speaking with an Orthodox priest of all the things that he could do. "Can you do these things?" he asked the priest. "No," the priest said, "but I can make it so that you cannot do them." The young man was intrigued and asked how. So, the priest put a simple wooden Cross around his neck. "Now try it," he said. The young man was powerless. He began to call on demons, finally calling on Satan himself, who said he could not help him unless he took off the Cross.

So, in situations such as this, the Cross has real power. But, you see here also the faith of the priest and his desire to save the young man. Also, the will of God, who desires that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
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If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2011, 12:13:04 AM »

No one knows?  Too touchy a subject? 
Well, when you eliminate catechumens and inquirers from your respondent pool, you're losing about 78% of the people most likely to answer this question.  Kiss



I didn't mean to confuse you or leave you feeling left out, which is why I said,

  All comments are welcome, ...

 Wink Smiley
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2011, 12:14:49 AM »

Thanks to all who replied.  I don't think I'm any closer to an answer I was hoping for, but I do appreciate all y'all's sincere attempts.  Thanks a million.  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2011, 12:17:47 AM »

No one knows?  Too touchy a subject? 
Well, when you eliminate catechumens and inquirers from your respondent pool, you're losing about 78% of the people most likely to answer this question.  Kiss



wow 78%?? Shocked I didn't there there was a hair over 62% Wink
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« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2011, 12:20:49 AM »

I think the power of the cross is kind of like liturgy, you get out of it what you are willing to put in.
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2011, 12:23:40 AM »

No one knows?  Too touchy a subject? 
Well, when you eliminate catechumens and inquirers from your respondent pool, you're losing about 78% of the people most likely to answer this question.  Kiss



wow 78%?? Shocked I didn't there there was a hair over 62% Wink
They don't call me the chronic exaggerator for nothin'. Wink

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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2011, 01:17:52 AM »

Quick question, you get a baptismal cross after baptism? Didn't know that.
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2011, 01:27:56 AM »

Quick question, you get a baptismal cross after baptism? Didn't know that.

It's tradition that your sponsor (godparent) will give you a baptismal cross and an icon at your baptism/chrismation.
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« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2011, 02:49:21 PM »

Quick question, you get a baptismal cross after baptism? Didn't know that.

It's tradition that your sponsor (godparent) will give you a baptismal cross and an icon at your baptism/chrismation.

Truth. My godfather gave me a beautiful silver baptismal cross, engraved with iconography, as well as a mounted print of St. Benjamin the Deacon, my baptismal patron.
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