My dearly beloved,
The Lord wants to protect us from great calamities as well as the dangers of the Final Judgement, He bestowed one particular teaching essential for protecting and saving us. What is this teaching I am referring to?
Simply that to do on to others what you would expect them to do to you, for if you do not wish evil upon yourself, then do not do evil upon others. Hence if you do not want things to be stolen from you, or to be slandered, defamed, cursed and so forth, then you should not steal, or commit murders and so forth to others.
Now I shall advise you, both young and old, to take your worry-beads (komboloi) within your left hands and to do the sign of the Cross with your right hands and to recite: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son and Word of the living God, through the Theotokos and all the Saints, have mercy upon me Your sinful and unworthy servant”.
For the all good and loving God bestowed upon us the Honourable Cross by which we can bless, as well as the All-Pure Mysteries (Sacraments). For with the Cross we open Paradise, for with the Cross we expel demons, but we must have our hands clean from sin, in that way the devil shall burn and take leave seeking refuge elsewhere. So my dearly beloved brethren, whether you are eating, drinking, or working, may this one teaching and the Cross never leave you. Furthermore, it is good and holy for one to pray always at dawn, in the evening and in the dead of night.
Listen my dear brethren, for how should one do their cross, and what does it signify. Firstly, just as the Holy Trinity is glorified within Heaven by the Angels, you too shall clasp together the three key figures of your right hand, raising your hand with conviction towards Heaven, in worship, placing it upon your forehead (since the head represents Heaven) and say: “Just as the Angels glorify the Holy Trinity, for just as my three fingers are joined together but distinct, so too is the Holy Trinity Three Persons but One God”.
Then lowering your hand towards your stomach, you then proclaim: “I venerate You, I worship You my Lord, for You condescended and became Incarnate within the womb of the Theotokos on account of our sins”.
Then raising your hand and placing it upon your right shoulder, you then proclaim: “I beseech You my God, forgive me and place me on Your right-hand amongst all those who are just and righteous”. Then you cross-over and place your hand upon your left shoulder saying: “I beseech You my Lord do not place me on Your left-hand amongst all the transgressors”.
After completing these gestures, bow down to the ground proclaiming: “I glorify You my God, I venerate You and I worship You, for You were placed within the tomb, just as I shall be entombed”. And when you arise from the ground, symbolising the action of the Resurrection, proclaim: “I glorify and venerate You my Lord, for You arose from the dead to bestow eternal life upon us”.
This my dear brethren is what the meaning of the Cross is!
Translated by VM for Mode of Life Project, and dedicated to the late and beloved memory Ioanna Krikelis of Glyfa, Evvoia, who is now laid to rest here in the Antipodes. May we learn from you Ioanna, a true woman of faith and devout example of what an Orthodox Christian should be.