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This post is a counterpart to this question: Is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves with the Cross?.

Among the Christians who bless using the sign of the cross, is it known when and why imparting a blessing by tracing the cross over the ones being blessed began?


My thinking: Blessing and crossing oneself are two different things. Example: say in an audience with the Pope there are many journalists are attending of varied beliefs or of no belief at all. When the Pope imparts his blessing by tracing the sign of the cross, only those who cross themselves and who want to cross themselves will cross themselves. Meaning you can have one and not necessarily the other. My good guess perhaps it goes back to Christ himself or at least the Apostles.

And also there can be a blessing without tracing the sign of the cross.

marked as duplicate by fredsbend, curiousdannii, user13992, bruised reed, Flimzy Feb 12 '15 at 18:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • I think my answer to the other question basically answers this. It was a natural and early evolution (see one of the Catholic Encyclopedia quotes) that can't be definitively traced, but is done for the same reason as crossing yourself. I'd be surprised if any more can be said about it than that. I'm not going to flag as a duplicate (at least for now), but my personal feeling is that it basically is one. – Mr. Bultitude Feb 12 '15 at 0:04
  • @Mr.Bultitude Thought about it. Blessing and crossing oneself two different things. Example: say in an audience with the Pope there are many journalists are attending of varied beliefs or of no belief at all. When the Pope imparts his blessing by tracing the sign of the cross, only those who cross themselves and who want to cross themselves will cross themselves. Meaning you can have one and not necessarily the other. My good guess perhaps it goes back to Christ himself or at least the Apostles. – user13992 Feb 12 '15 at 0:09
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    I think there's a pretty small difference. I think you should combine the two questions. – fredsbend Feb 12 '15 at 4:45