Explanation of the Cross
Which We Wear about the Shoulders on a Cord.

Take heed also concerning the Cross which thou wearest about thy shoulders. Remember the covenant which exists between thee and Christ Himself.

When thou camest forth from the baptismal font, thou didst promise to be a servant of Christ and didst venerate His Crucifixion, the Cross of Christ, and wast signed with the Cross of Christ and didst receive from the priest's hand the Cross of Christ, which thou didst place upon thy shoulders.

Thou didst accept Christ's covenant, whereby thou didst promise to follow Christ according to the Gospel; as it is written: "He that taketh not His Cross and follloweth after me, is not worthy of Me."

Thou hast taken up the Cross and promised to follow after Christ.

Be mindful then, that thou wearest upon thy body the image of the Cross of Christ, upon which He voluntarily suffered for our salvation. This is God's covenant; this is the ensign of Christ the King: this is the standard of the heavenly hosts; thereby wilt thou be known as a servant of Christ.

If anyone ask thee, "What is that?", answer him thus, as it is written: "I bear on my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

If he say, "Where is it written, and who hath commanded thus?", tell him that the Lord carried the cross when the Lord went to His voluntary Passion. It was He Who charged us who believe in Him to carry the Cross.

As the divine Luke saith, "They laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the Cross that he might bear it after Jesus." At that time, also, the wise thief by the cross entered into Paradise.

But if the man reproach thee and make further inquiries, flee from him quickly, for he is not a believer. For when a man is overly inquisitive about things divine, he hath a deep heart, and God is exalted over him, but he descendeth down to hell, because he seeketh to know what is above him, and keepeth not that which hat been handed down to him.

Excerpts from "The Son of the Church" - Number 69

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas