Creeping to the Cross

Creeping to the Cross (so called). Alcuin mentions that on Good Friday a cross was prepared before the altar, and kissed in succession by the clergy and people. Sometimes it was laid on a cushion in a side-chapel. By AElfric's Canons (957), the faithful were required to pay their adoration, and greet God's rood with a kiss. "We humble ourselves to Christ' herein," Cranmer says, "offering unto him, and kissing the cross, in memory of our redemption by Christ on the cross." The practice was forbidden in 1549, but was observed at Dunbar in 1568 by the congregation, bare-legged and barefooted. During the ceremonial the hymns "Pange, lingua," and "Vexilla regis prodeunt," were sung, followed by the "Improperia," or reproaches, an expansion of Mal 3:3-4.

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