Christians from the early Church left us detailed instructions.
Christians have been making the sign of the cross over their bodies from the very beginning of the Church. Christian apologist Tertullian wrote during the 3rd century, “We Christians wear out our foreheads with the sign of the cross.”
It is a pious custom that is familiar among Catholics and Eastern Christians, but is typically only performed before and after prayers. However, writers from the 3rd and 4th century had a different view about the sign of the cross. They firmly believed that it should permeate every activity and wrote down how often they performed the religious act.
Below is a detailed description provided by Tertullian from the 3rd century. He promotes a much wider use of the sign of the cross, calling down God’s grace upon every activity that we do. You may be surprised at how often he suggests it should be performed.
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Why do Catholics make the Sign of the Cross before praying?
Why do Eastern Christians make the Sign of the Cross “backwards”?