Orthodox Mission – Hyde Park, Chicago

Sign of the Cross

Ezekiel 9:4 is a prophecy of the sign of the Cross as a protection: “And the Lord said to him, “Go through the city, through Jerusalem and put a Tau [t] upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over the abominations that are committed in it.” The people with this sign of the cross, who are busy with repentance, are preserved when Jerusalem is destroyed. These are the people who have besieged the city of their hearts and work to bring down their own pride with the help of God. These are the people who understand trials and tribulations in life not as unnecessary hindrances to pleasures and comfort, but as the “slight momentary affliction… preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison.” We are “baptized into Christ” and “have put on Christ” so that death has no dominion over us and we are victorious in the joy of our faith in Christ’s rising from the dead. Signing ourselves with the cross is a constant affirmation of the mystery of victory in the midst of the more (externally) obvious defeat: life in death; healing in sickness; exaltation in humbling; repentance which dispels the darkness of sin; quiet, peaceful dispassion which preserves our hearts from passions and emotional turmoil.
Let us sign ourselves as we begin our prayers with the sign of baptism, let us make on our forehead the sign of the cross, as on that day when we were baptized, and as it is written in the prophet Ezekiel. Let us not raise our hand only as far as the mouth or the beard, but let us rather bring it to our forehead, while saying in our heart: “We have signed ourselves with the seal!” While this is not of the same nobility as the seal of baptism, nevertheless, on the day when we were baptized, the sign of the cross was imprinted on the forehead of each one of us. Rule of Horsiesios (successor of St. Pachomios the Great)
If you want to wipe out the bad memories left in the mind and the multifarious attacks of the enemy, then arm yourself speedily with the recollection of our Savior and with the ardent invocation of his exalted name by day and by night, while sealing  yourself often, both on the forehead and on the breast, with the sign of our Lord’s Cross. For as often as the name of our Savior Jesus Christ is pronounced and the seal of the Lord’s Cross is placed on the heart and the forehead and o the other members, the power of the enemy is indubitably quelled, and the wicked demons flee trembling from us. Nilus of Ancyra
from 3.17.09 bulletin