"In the Church, everything is good and according to the order, so it happens" - these words of St. Basil the Great fully refer to the celebration of the sign of the cross. A Christian must be baptized not only reverently, meaningfully, but also correctly.
The sign of the cross is a small sacred rite. Performing it, the Christian imposes on himself the image of the cross - the most sacred symbol, the instrument of the death of Jesus Christ, which gave people hope for salvation from sinful slavery. Every detail of this action is full of deep meaning.
Initially, when making the sign of the cross, the fingers were folded in the form of two fingers: the index and middle fingers are connected, the rest are bent and closed. Such a gesture can still be seen on ancient icons. In this form, the sign of the cross was borrowed from Byzantium.
In the 13th century. in the Greek Church there was a change in the gesture of prayer, and in the 17th century. Patriarch Nikon, through reforms, brought the Russian church tradition in accordance with the changed Greek. This is how the three fingers were introduced, and to this day Orthodox Christians are baptized in this way.
When making the sign of the cross, the thumb, index and middle fingers are connected, this symbolizes the unity and inseparability of the Holy Trinity. The ring finger and little finger are pressed against the palm. The combination of two fingers denotes the unity of the two natures of Jesus Christ - divine and human. In essence, the symbolism of two fingers was the same - 3 and 2, the Trinity and the God-man, so the change concerned not so much the content as the form, but in the modern Orthodox Church it was the three-fingers that were established, and the two-fingers were preserved only among the Old Believers, therefore, the Orthodox Christian does not need apply it.
Making the sign of the cross, you need to touch the forehead, then to the solar plexus area, and then to the shoulders - first to the right, then to the left. The first touch sanctifies the mind, the second touch the senses, and the touch on the shoulders sanctifies bodily strength. A very common mistake is not to reach the abdomen by making a second touch somewhere around the chest or even the neck. At the same time, not only is the meaning built on the symbolism of the human body lost, but an image of an inverted cross is also obtained, and this is a mockery of a shrine.
An important detail is touching first the right shoulder and then the left. According to the Gospel, the robber crucified on the right of Jesus Christ repented and was saved in the last minutes of his life, and the one on the left died in a sinful state, therefore the right side symbolizes salvation, and the left side symbolizes spiritual death. Baptizing from right to left, a person asks God to join him to the saved.
A Christian is baptized not only before the beginning of prayer and during the service. You need to overshadow yourself with the sign of the cross before entering the temple and before leaving it, before eating and after eating, starting and finishing work. If a person is baptized outside of worship, he must say at the same time: "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."