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To Cross or Not to Cross

doing_the_crossAnyone who has looked around on a Sunday morning will notice that different people cross themselves at different times and sometimes in different ways. To a certain extent, when to cross oneself is according to personal piety and not an issue of dogma. But there are times when it is specifically proper to cross yourself, and time when you should not. Here is a brief list of when to cross and when not to cross:

To Cross: When you hear one of the variations of the phrase, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” at the beginning and end of the liturgical service or your private prayers; entering or exiting the church, at the time before and after Holy Communion, or when passing in from the Holy Altar; before venerating an icon, the cross, or Gospel book.

Not to Cross: When the priest or bishop blesses saying “Peace be to all” bow slightly and receive the blessing from a bishop or a priest, kissing the right hand of the bishop or priest is appropriate but not making the sign of the cross.