How to make the Sign of the Cross
from "The Orthodox Companion"
by Rev. David F. Abramtsov
At certain times, such as at prayer, we want to rededicate ourselves to God. We do this by making the Sign of the Cross upon ourselves. First we join the first three fingers of our right hand together (the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger), and we bend the other two fingers down to the palm. We then trace upon ourselves the Cross by touching the three joined fingers of the right hand to the forehead, the breast, the right shoulder and the left shoulder. After forming the Cross upon ourselves we slightly bow our heads to express to God our reverence and humiliy.

When we join our three fingers together it is as if we wanted to say: "I believe in God, One in the Trinity; in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; not in one person, but in Three Persons; not in three gods, but One God." When we bend the other two fingers or our right hand down to the palm it is as if we were saying: "I believe that Our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who is at the same time Real God and Real Man--the God-man, came down to earth for our salvation." We touch our forehead to ask God to sanctify our thoughts; our breast, to sanctify our senses; our shoulders, to strenghen our wills for the doing and keeping of God's commandments. When we make the Sign of the Cross we bear the inscription: "I belong to Jesus Christ"; and we show thereby that we want to live and act not for ourselves but for the Lord our God. As the Cross is being made we say the following prayer (unless we are saying another prayer at the time): "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." We say these words to make it clear that we want to belong to God and serve Him alone.

Copyright © 1999  OrthodoxNet.  All rights reserved.