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How to Orthodox Christians Baptize

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Please tell us about the history of the Sign of the Cross at an early stage of Christianity. As I understand it, neither Christ nor the apostles overshadowed themselves with the sign of the Cross. When did this tradition arise? When and in connection with which there was a difference in the direction of the cross: from the right shoulder to the left and from the left to the right. What is the sign of the cross ancient?

The priest Athanasius Gumerov, a resident of the Sretensky monastery, answers:

We do not have liturgical texts of Christians of the apostolic age. Therefore, we cannot unambiguously resolve the issue of using the cross banner in the primitive Church. Ignorance does not give us reason to deny the possibility of the appearance of the sign of the cross in the earliest Christian communities. Some researchers say this quite definitely: “The custom of doing cr. Banners. originates from the time of the apostles "(Full. Orthodox. Theological. Encyclopedia. Dictionary, St. Petersburg. Publisher P.P.Soykina, bg, p. 1485). During Tertullian, the sign of the cross has deeply entered the life of modern Christians. In the treatise “On the Crown of a Warrior” (circa 211), he writes that we shield our brow with the sign of the Cross under all circumstances of life: entering the house and leaving it, dressing, lighting up lamps, going to bed, sitting down for any activity .

The sign of the cross is not only part of the religious rite. First of all, it is a great weapon. The mothers, fathers, and the lives of the saints contain many examples testifying to the real spiritual power that the image of the cross possesses. Did the enlightened apostles really not know about this? We find an interesting testimony in the "Spiritual Meadow" bliss. John Mosch. When the presbyter of the Pentucla Monastery Konon left the monastery, he was met by St. John the Baptist, who meekly told him: "Return to the monastery, and I will deliver you from the battle." Avva Conon refused. Then St. John put him on one of the hills and, revealing his clothes, three times overshadowed him with the sign of the Cross ”(chapter 3). The Great Forerunner John is a celestial. How could he learn to perform the sign of the cross with people. This story indirectly indicates that the image of the cross was used from the beginning of Christianity. I will give one more consideration. Rev. John of Damascus writes of the Cross: “He is given to us as a sign on the forehead, as circumcision is to Israel” (Exact statement of the Orthodox faith, pr. 4, chap. XI). Who is given? By God. Just as the Lord gave circumcision through Abraham (Gen. 17:10), so apparently He gave the sign of the cross through the apostles.

How and when did two different traditions of the sign of the cross form? It is impossible to answer for the lack of historical data. The Orthodox, overshadowing themselves, move their hand from the right shoulder to the left. If an Orthodox person overshadows another person or space in front of him, then the hand moves from left to right. Catholics perform signum crucis from left to right, and the space in front of them is from right to left. Behind these features is not any dogmatic teaching. Perhaps, in the formation of these traditions, differences in worldview orientations appeared. In the consciousness and life of a Westerner, an individual-personal principle is manifested more clearly than in an Eastern person. The worldview of a Westerner is anthropocentric, and that of the Orthodox is theocentric. In the Orthodox tradition, when making the cross banner, the idea was expressed that the worshiper does not overshadow himself, but receives this spiritual seal from God (from the outside). A Western Christian overshadows himself, invoking the name of God.

Why are people baptized when they walk past a temple or monastery? Do I have to be baptized?

The Orthodox Christian, by the rules of piety, passing by the temple, must stop, reverently overshadow himself with the sign of the cross and bow to the temple of God, thereby giving the glory of God to our Lord Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven for our sake and for our sake, incarnated from the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin and became human. He was crucified on the Cross for our sins. He was buried, Risen, and Ascended to Heaven and Vossel at the right hand of Heavenly Father, so that at His second coming in glory with all the Saints and Angels, he would judge everyone according to his deeds. That is, through his worship, the Christian publicly professes the faith of the Orthodox Church in the Lord and Savior of Jesus Christ. And for those who are ashamed of such a confession, the Lord said: “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of His Father with holy Angels” (Mark 8, 38).

We are called Christians, because we believe in God as the Son of God, our Lord, taught us to believe Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ not only taught us to believe in God correctly, but also saved us from the power of sin and eternal death.

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, for sinful love for us, came down from heaven and, like a simple man, suffered instead of us for our sins, was crucified, died on the cross and on the third day is risen.

So the sinless Son of God with his cross (that is, suffering and death on the cross for the sins of all people, the whole world) not only sin but also death itself won - rose from the dead, and made the cross an instrument of His victory over sin and death.

As the conqueror of death - risen on the third day - He also saved us from eternal death. He will resurrect all of us who have died when the last day of the world comes, and will resurrect for a joyful, eternal life with God.

The cross is the instrument or banner of Christ's victory over sin and death.

That is why, in order to express our faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior, we carry a cross on the body, and during prayer we depict the sign of the cross on our right hand, or overshadow ourselves with the sign of the cross (we are baptized).

The sign of the Cross gives us great power to drive away and conquer evil and do good, but only we must remember that the cross must be put right and slowlyotherwise there will be no image of the cross, but a simple wave of the hand, which only demons rejoice at. By negligent fulfillment of the sign of the cross, we show our disrespect for God - sin, this sin is called sacrilege.

It is necessary to overshadow yourself with the sign of the cross, or to be baptized: at the beginning of prayer, during prayer and at the end of prayer, as well as when approaching everything holy: when we enter the temple, when we attach to the cross, to the icon, etc. We must be baptized and in all important cases of our lives: in danger, in sorrow, in joy, etc.

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