Sign of the cross ~ little extra bits

ok, I know about the left to right v. right to left deal, what I am wondering about are the little additions of various folks from various backgrounds. For example, at the Melkite service it seemed there was a striking of the breast at the end, like the mea culpa type gesture, does anyone know if this is what they were doing? I usually end the sign of the cross with a kiss, which I pick up from my Mexican wife, but as we or I as the case varies, have been in attendance of a Russian-Greek parish/Melkite mission parish, at whose (the Russian-Greek) D.L.s I have seen other variations, I think. Just curious, does anyone know about these little endings or various ways of making the sign of the cross, if you do it any different, what do you do, and what is your traditional background? Just wondering…I tried to start this thead at Byzcath but it got put in another thread by the moderators I guess 'cos I mentioned the right to left bit… :stuck_out_tongue:

ok, you guys are gonna force me to actually TALK to people!
Leave it to one’s Christian bretheren to do what is uncomfortably best for one in the long run! :mad:

Hey – give folks a chance to answer!:stuck_out_tongue:

Unfortunately, I myself don’t know. I only recently received an answer for the whole Latin-vs-Byzantine direction bit.

Myself, I’ve always done the little “thump”, but it isn’t cultural, just a personal “tic”, I guess. It was:

“In the Name of the Father” (touch forehead)
“and of the Son” (touch breast)
“and of the Holy” (touch left shoulder) “Spirit” (touch right shoulder)

When I go from the Sign straight into a prayer, of course, both my hands go into the “prayer position” at my breast. But when I cross myself as a separate action (like with a genuflection or when I walk by a church), stopping my right hand at the prayer position afterward seems somehow less irreverent than just dropping my hand back to my side.

But thats just me. :rolleyes:

Oh, and as for my background, I’m a post-Vatican II Canadian Latin-Rite Cradle Catholic of Anglo-Irish descent, Catholic-school educated from Grades K - 11…except for a few months in Grade 3 where I was in a Pentecostal school.:eek: My parents were also Catholic-educated from primary through high school, etc etc…Newfoundland had **only **denominational schools until about 2000 or so.

ha ha, I know I am impatient huh, that is one of my BIG prayers for Lent…thanks for your participation! :thumbsup:

We, Latin Catholics, also have such a quirk!:yup:

Before the celebrating priest reads the Gospel for the day, he makes 3 little crosses on the book page and while at the same time all the congregants make little crosses on the forehead, on the lips, and on the heart.

As far as I know, only Latin Catholics do this?

It is said that this is the “oldest” signage verifiable in Christendom and some Church historians claim it is of apostolic origins and the earliest Christians used this 3 little crosses in their day.

There are lots of Hispanic traditions with small little stuff, like crossing the index and “bird finger” (LOL sorry, I can’t think of another way to describe the tallest finger), forming a cross, and then venerating this little finger-made cross by kissing it at the end of the Sign of the Cross.

Most people call it the middle finger. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve most frequently seen the kissed thumb crossed over the first/index/pointer finger.

Another way is a profound bow in which the ground is touched before or after making the Sign of the Cross, depending on tradition. One group touches the ground first because they don’t want to make the Sign of the Cross on themselves and then bend over to touch the ground and “break the cross.” Is it the Russians? I see both and can’t remember which is which.

In the East, I haven’t seen real diversity in how the Sign of the Cross is made, but when. At the invocation of the Trinity, at the name of Mary, for particular petitions, there are innumerable places a person or parish can make the Sign of the Cross.

Then there is the one finger, two finger, three finger fight symbolizing Christ’s one nature, Christ’s two natures, or the Trinity.

There’s also the Christogram which priests use to bless in the name of Christ by forming the letters ICXC with their fingers.

And exactly how does one do that? And will I ever play the piano again? :eek:

Hey, waitaminnit…

is that the one I see on some icons, like St Nicholas hereas in:

*]pinky up (I)
*]ring finger curled ©
*]middle and pointer extended and slightly bent/crossed (X)
*]thumb curled to touch ring fincer ©?

Actually, it shouild be…

index finger is out for the "I"
middle finger is curled for the "C"
ring finger is curled with thumb resting in it to form "X"
and pinky is curled for the “C”

hope this helps…

yeah the ICXC may not be something you wanna go around making outdoors, around here, they’ve shot deaf people for talking sign language! :eek:
Hate the gangbanging, love the gangbanger? Gets pretty tough! :shrug:

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