Thursday, May 19, 2016

Making the Sign of the Cross ( Church Etiquette )

A person looking around on a Sunday morning may notice that different people cross themselves at different times. To a certain extent, when to cross oneself is a matter of personal piety and not of dogma. However, there are times in the service when crossing oneself (thumb and first two fingers touching each other, third and fourth fingers folded into the palm: touching head first, to stomach, right shoulder to left) is called for:

To cross: when you hear one of the variations of the phrase “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”; before venerating an icon, Gospel, or Cross; when blessed with an icon, Cross, Gospel, or Chalice; entering and exiting the temple; when passing before the Altar.

Not to Cross: (only bowing of the head): when blessed with hand (as in “Peace be unto all”), or censed. In receiving a blessing from a bishop or priest one does not make the sign of the Cross beforehand. “In this way ought we to distinguish between reverence toward holy things and toward persons”.

Coming to Church late ( Church Etiquette )

Since this is entirely inappropriate, without due cause, for a Christian who has come to worship God, the point is moot. The same goes for leaving services early. Experience testifies that coming to Church late is more a matter of “habit” than circumstance: there are those who come late, and those who don't. Some rules of thumb: Those who arrive late should generally refrain from partaking of the Eucharist that day as “proper preparation” for Holy Communion assumes the ascetical effort of arriving on time service.