St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church
Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania
Orthodox Church in America
Crossing One's Arms at Holy Communion

The proper way to cross arms when receiving Holy Communion, and as we see in the picture of this well-trained girl to the right, we cross our arms over our chest with our right arm over our left, symbolizing the superiority of the sheep on Christ’s right (those who give food to the hungry, give drink to the thirty, harbor the stranger and foreigner, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned) to the goats on his left (those who do not do all these things), as spoken about by Christ in Matthew 25.  Not only does this position seal the cross upon ourselves as we approach the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it indicates our submission to Christ: that we are receiving His holy Gifts from him, not taking it for ourselves.  It also has the practical benefit of keeping our hands out of the way of the cloth, chalice, spoon, and priest, lest we accidently cause the precious Gifts to be spilled or fall.  On this final point, it is also important to know that we should not cross ourselves with our right hand (forehead, belly, right shoulder, and left) until we have departed from the chalice.  Some people, out of piety, wish to cross themselves, but we should avoid any such movements around the chalice; instead, we should keep our arms and hands out of the way of potential accidents with the holy things.


601 Boone Ave. Canonsburg, PA 15317 – Phone: 724-745-8216 (Rectory) – Email:
Acting Rector, Fr. John Joseph Kotalik – Phone: 425-503-2891 – Email:

Saturday Vespers: 5:00 PM (Nov.-Feb.) OR 6:00 PM (March-Oct.) – Sunday Divine Liturgy: 9:30 AM
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