Religion Past and Present

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Sign of the Cross
(204 words)

[German Version]

The sign of the cross was originally traced on the forehead with the index finger or thumb; later it came to be traced over the body from head to chest and from the left shoulder to the right (Latin and Oriental Orthodox churches; in the Byzantine rite, from right to left). The sign of the cross expresses the individual’s belonging to Christ through baptism; its relationship to baptism is strengthened by the accompanying Trinitarian formula and the use of (holy) water. Made over p…

Cite this page
Heinz, Andreas, “Sign of the Cross”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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