Rules For Bows and the Sign of the Cross
Sign of the Cross without Bows:
  1. At the middle of the Hexapsalm, at the triple Alleluia, three times
  2. At the beginning of the Creed.
  3. At the dismissal - "Christ our true God…"
  4. At the beginning of a reading from Holy Scripture: Gospel, Apostle or Old Testament lesson.

Sign of the Cross with the Little Bow:

  1. When entering or leaving a church - three times.
  2. At every petitions of the litanies.
  3. At the exclamation of the priest giving glory to the Holy Trinity.
  4. At the words, "Take, eat…" "Drink ye all of this…" "Thine own of Thine own…" and "Holy Things for the holy!"
  5. At the words, "Higher in honor than the Chrerubim.."
  6. At the words, "Let us worship…," "We worship…," "We adore…," and "We fall down before…"
  7. During "Alleluia," "Holy God," "O come, let us worship," and "Glory to Thee, Christ God," before the dismissal the sign of the Cross with little bow is made three times.
  8. During the first and ninth odes of the canon, at the first refrain to the Lord, the Mother of God or the Saint.
  9. After each stikhira - at which time the choir, which has finished singing, makes the sign of the Cross.
  10. During the Litiya, at each of the first three petitions we sign ourselves and bow three times; after the remaining two petitions we sign ourselves and bow once.

Sign of the Cross with the Great Bow (Prostration):

  1. During fasts, when entering and leaving church - three times.
  2. During fasts, at each "… we magnify thee" in the refrain to the Canticle of the Mother of God (Magnificat).
  3. At the beginning of "It is meet and right to worship the Father…"
  4. After the "We sing unto Thee…"
  5. After the hymn to the Mother of God or its substitute.
  6. At he exclamation, "And grant u, O Master…," introducing the Lord's Prayer.
  7. When the Holy Gifts are brought forth for Communion and again after Communion.
  8. During the Great Fast at Great Compline during the singing of "Most holy Mother of God…" and at each of its several accompanying petitions; at Vespers, at the end of "Virgin Mother of God rejoice," and the two hymn following.
  9. During fasts at the end of each section of the prayer "O Lord and Master of my life…"
  10. During fasts, at the three concluding petitions - "Remember me, O Lord, when…"

Little Bow without the Sign of the Cross:

  1. A the words, "Peace to all."
  2. "The blessing of the Lord be upon you…"
  3. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…"
  4. "And may the mercies of our great God…"
  5. When the deacon exclaims, "And unto ages of ages" (after "For Thou Art Holy, O our God…")

The Sign of the Cross in not to be made:

  1. During psalms.
  2. Generally, while singing.
  3. During litanies by the choir which will make the responses.

Making the sign of the Cross and bows are allowed after singing, not during the concluding words of a given piece.

Prostrations are not allowed on Sundays; from Nativity through Theophany; from Pascha until Pentecost Sunday; on the feast of the Transfiguration; and on the feast of the Elevation of the Cross (except the three prostrations to the Cross).

Prostrations cease with the entrance during Vespers of the feast and are not resumed until after "Vouchsafe, O Lord…" during Vespers on the day of the feast itself.

Provided by The Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, New York, New York; Fr. Christopher Calin, priest-in-charge.
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