The practice among the Orthodox, when meeting an Orthodox bishop or priest, is to say, "Father [or 'Your Grace,' etc.] bless!," extend the hands, cupped, and bow the head while he makes the sign of the cross over you, then kiss his right hand, which he places in yours. We would never expect a Roman Catholic to go through that ceremonial when greeting our bishops and priest (and I have never seen one do so), nor would we go through that ceremonial in greeting a Roman Catholic or Anglican priest or bishop, who would undoubtedly find it confusing, at best.
I doubt most Muslims would expect a Christian, particularly a patriarch, to kiss the Qu'ran when handling it.
The gesture was clearly unnecessary, and certainly scandalous to Christians who know enough about the Qu'ran to know that it teaches, for example, that Jesus did not really die on the cross.