Signs and Symbols

What is the Sign of the Cross?

The sign of the cross is a simple and profound prayer. In part it is an action or gesture. A Christian marks himself with the cross to show faith in Christ’s saving work. A cross is described on the body by the right hand moving from the forehead to the breast, and then from shoulder to shoulder. In the Eastern church the cross stroke is made from right to left; in the Western church from left to right. While tracing the sign of the cross, the Christian says: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This formula, which recalls the words of Christ sending his Apostles to teach and baptize (see Matthew 28:19), expresses an act of the faith in the Trinity.


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