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Sign of the Cross

4 bytes removed, 12:25, May 11, 2006
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Use of the sign
In Eastern Orthodox prayers, the sign of the cross is usually made whenever all three persons of the [[Trinity]] are addressed, or even alluded to. Before commencing any prayer, in fact, the Sign is typically made. Upon entering a church, and the sanctuary within the church, one will make the Sign partly as an outward sign of reverence and [[veneration]]. Orthodox laymen will make the Sign as one way of venerating an [[icon]]; [[priest|Priests]] have many more specific occasions upon which to make the Sign. Many members of the Faith will make the Sign in a way that may seem idiomatic to some: for example, if a member is exposed to blasphemy, he or she may make the Sign, partly to suggest subtly and politely to the speaker that an offense has been committed. Some members of the Faith will use the Sign in what almost appears to be a wish for luck; it may be that, or a part of an unsaid prayer for God's blessing, as when beginning a journey or a sports competition.
The Sign of the Cross has minor variants as well: it can be made in the air to bless objects, and it may trace a very small trajectory, such as on the forehead (as was the earliest descriptions of the Sign suggest). For a member of the Faith, perhaps the essential element of the Sign is that it physically indicates the direct relevance of the Cross, of the Sacrifice of [[Jesus]], to one's person or surroundings. It is an engagement of the body that affirms what the faithful professes. It is also a sign to others of what one professes.
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