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Wearing a Cross

Crosses are now in fashion. The unmovable hatred of atheists toward the crucifix (remember the "Death of a Pioneer" of Bagritsky: "do not resist, Valenka, he will not eat you?") is replaced by a new fashion. Crosses of various forms and sizes, expensive and not very, are sold in cooperative stores next to vodka in underground passages and jewelry stores. The cross is becoming the symbol of our time, but not as a sign of faith, but as an image of derision over Orthodoxy.

The Cross — is the greatest Christian holy relic, the visible evidence of our expiation. In the service of the Raising the Church sings the praise of the wood of the Lord’s Cross with many praises: "The Cross is the preserver of all the universe. The Cross is the comeliness of the Church. The Cross is the might of kings. The Cross is the steadfastness of believers. The Cross is the glory of the angels and the sting of demons." From the first centuries of Christianity every believer wears a cross on his breast, fulfilling the words of the Savior: "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Mark 8:34). The cross is put on every newly baptized person as a shield of faith and weapon against demons.

The unclean power fears nothing more than the cross. And nothing pleases them more than the careless treatment of the cross.

Those crosses which are sold in the church, are blessed through a special ritual. There exist canonical forms of the cross: four, six, and eight pointed, with a half-circle at the bottom and others, each line having its symbolic meaning. On the reverse side of Russian crosses one traditionally finds the words: "Save and protect." Modern "stall" crosses often do not even resemble the Golgotha cross. In several dioceses (for example, Crimea) bishops forbid the acceptance of crucifixes for blessing prepared outside the church shop. There is reason behind this, because sometimes the priest is given a cross, and instead of Christ — there is a woman surrounded by radiance. "Where did you get this?" "Some fellows were selling it on the street, wearing blue robes…"

But even a blessed cross cannot be worn without reverence. A sacred item, used without proper honor, is defiled and instead of help from above brings God’s anger on the defiler. The cross is not a medallion, nor an expensive bauble. "God is not mocked" (Gal. 6:7)

There are no rules for the material from which the cross is made. Obviously, expensive metals can be used, because for the Christian there cannot be anything dearer than the cross — from this stems the desire to decorate it. But, certainly, plain wooden or metal crosses are nearer in spirit to the Lord’s Cross. There is also no principle difference between a chain and a string: mainly, the cross should be held securely.

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