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Sign of the Cross

Also found on the altar table is a small hand cross used for bless­ing and for ven­er­a­tion by the faith­ful. The sign of the cross is used through­out the church build­ing: on the holy ves­sels, stands, tables, and vestments.

The cross is the cen­tral sym­bol for Chris­tians, not only as the instru­ment of the world’s sal­va­tion by the cru­ci­fied Christ, but also as the con­stant wit­ness to the fact—that men can­not be Chris­tians unless they live with the cross as the very con­tent of their lives in this world. “If any man would come after me, let him deny him­self and take up his cross and fol­low he” (Mk 8:34).

For these rea­sons Chris­tians place upon them­selves the sign of the cross. The Ortho­dox place their first two fin­gers and thumb togeth­er to form a sign of the Tri­une God and cross them­selves from the head to the breast and from shoul­der to shoul­der, right to left. This unique and all-embrac­ing sym­bol shows that the cross is the inspi­ra­tion, pow­er and indeed the very con­tent of our lives as Chris­tians; and that man’s mind, heart and strength must be giv­en to the love of God and man.