Genuflexion

In Roman Catholicism the momentary bending of the right knee so as to touch the ground. The body is held erect and the sign of the cross is made. In the Western Church this has largely superseded the profound bow which was general before the sixteenth century and which is still performed by some religious orders, and is almost universal in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Genuflexion is used frequently in Roman Catholic Church ritual and is found also in the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism. A double genuflexion consists in kneeling on both knees, bowing the head and rising, and is made “before the Blessed Sacrament when it is exposed,” according to a Roman Catholic source. Some early Christians who bent the knee only in sign of penance were known as “Genuflectentes.”