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Author Topic: I don't like kissing things  (Read 3711 times) Average Rating: 0
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Marat
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« on: November 23, 2006, 08:11:14 PM »

There, I've finally said it. I've always hated it. I was brought up in a very reserved family, no expression of emotions ever, good or bad. We didn't (and still don't) kiss and hug on each other. Needless to say, my attending Orthodox services has made me uncomfortable at times. I've somewhat mastered kissing icons and no longer feel weird about it (although I haven't mastered how to do it without wacking my glasses on them) but kissing the priest's hand makes me very uncomfortable. I like and respect my priest a great deal, but kissing his hand seems beyond my comfort zone.

Does anyone else feel like this? Or did anyone? Any advice? Right now, I plan on just doing it and hope in time it will all feel more natural. I hate the way it makes me feel. I focus too much on this instead of things I should be focusing on.
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2006, 09:36:16 PM »

I think it's very good that you are being put outside of your comfort zone--that is the only way we grow as humans.  It is an integral part of Christian culture to greet each other with hugs and kisses.  Without wanting to be overly judgmental, the idea that a family could never hug and kiss one another and would never express emotions seems foreign to the way that the Old Testament patriarchs, Christ, the Apostles, and Saints have shown us that humans are supposed to act (your family may be non-Christian, Protestant, or something else; I am not sure, so I am not sure where they are coming from). I would continue to put myself in this uncomfortable position until such time as it feels natural; because, as I said, this is an integral part of Orthodox culture.

My family started out reserved, although not to the extent you have said yours is, but we have gradually become more expressive and it feels liberating to be able to tell family that I love them and hear that they love me back.  I don't expect that you will be able to impose this on them but for you, over time, you may come to appreciate the freedom to express yourself.

If you or any other reader has social anxiety issues though, please ignore what I have said and consult a professional as to your feelings as I am an unlicensed, untrained, and unsolicited-advice giving layman and would never want to give out advice that is not applicable or beyond reasonable limits.

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2006, 11:08:04 PM »

I don't have social anxiety over it, I just feel awkward about it. I have been forcing myself to do this. It is something I need to overcome, but it isn't easy. I do it, then feel weird about it and embarrassed, then promise myself I'll never do it again, only to try again the next week.

I also think about germs, and kissing where everyone else has just kissed. I just didn't think I'd be the only one.

This all being said, I do consider it more important to live the true faith (the Orthodox faith), than to bow down to my dislike of kissing things and will continue to do so. Right now I just don't always like it. I think everyone has a challenge at some point and this is just one of mine.
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2006, 12:34:21 AM »

I used to worry about germs but then I realized how many germs are on the food we eat every day and was like oh well. LOL
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2006, 01:51:55 AM »

I know plenty of Orthodox who don't kiss the priest's hand -- I personally wouldn't consider it a requirement to be Orthodox or anything extreme.  I've grown accustomed to kissing my parish priest's hand, but honestly sometimes it does feel a tad awkward especially if I'm kissing a priest's hand while first meeting him .  It's most definitely not a common thing in America, perhaps if I were raised in Europe somewhere I would be more socialized to not feeling weird, however I was not, and therefore still, at times, do.  I'm sure most pepople do, at times, feel awkward as well.  I would try to not stress over it so much (easier said than done, I realize).  I highly doubt the priest would be offended if you didn't kiss his hand one Sunday Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2006, 01:53:32 AM »

As for the germs...after a lifetime of receiving communion, kissing icons, kissing hands, pretty much sharing everything with everyone else on an up-close-and personal level, I've never gotten sick.  Pretty sure God takes care of that one.
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2006, 02:00:40 AM »

Quote
As for the germs...after a lifetime of receiving communion, kissing icons, kissing hands, pretty much sharing everything with everyone else on an up-close-and personal level, I've never gotten sick.  Pretty sure God takes care of that one.


I'm with Zoe and Anastasios.  Get over it.  (Not that I mean you can do that overnight necesarily.)  We're a kissy Church. 
« Last Edit: November 24, 2006, 02:03:40 AM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2006, 02:04:20 AM »

I definitely only clicked reply to see if there was a kissy smiley...AND THERE IS!!! YES!!!!

 Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss
Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss

woo HOO!
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2006, 02:07:48 AM »

I've grown accustomed to kissing my parish priest's hand, but honestly sometimes it does feel a tad awkward especially if I'm kissing a priest's hand while first meeting him .

That's interesting.  I would probably try to kiss the hand of a priest that I didn't know more so than one that I did know, just to show recognition of his status, and maybe so that he would know that I was Orthodox also.
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2006, 12:07:14 PM »

Marat,

I'm in agreement with everyone here---don't let our Orthodox 'kissy habits' become a stumbling block for you!

Speaking as a priest, roughly one third or so of my parishioners do not kiss my hand. Part of this is because we have a good number of converts in my parish who also may be going through the same things you are, or just have never been trained, or whatever. I'm sure there are as many reasons for their behavior as there are parishioners.

And, I do not take umbrage at this 'not' kissing my hand, because after all--I am their servant. I think it is better for them to kiss my hand, since this is a traditional greeting that--among other things-- serves to remind both of us the importance of humility, but I would never request anyone to do so or be upset if anyone did not do so.

So, do what you need to do to continue attending your Orthodox parish. Most priests I know will not think anything less of you because you're 'shy'. In time, with your heart open to the Spirit, you will kiss Father's hand out of your love for Christ. And that will be a great day indeed!
« Last Edit: November 24, 2006, 12:08:22 PM by chris » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2006, 12:36:39 PM »

Marat,

I'm in agreement with everyone here---don't let our Orthodox 'kissy habits' become a stumbling block for you!

Speaking as a priest, roughly one third or so of my parishioners do not kiss my hand. Part of this is because we have a good number of converts in my parish who also may be going through the same things you are, or just have never been trained, or whatever. I'm sure there are as many reasons for their behavior as there are parishioners.

And, I do not take umbrage at this 'not' kissing my hand, because after all--I am their servant. I think it is better for them to kiss my hand, since this is a traditional greeting that--among other things-- serves to remind both of us the importance of humility, but I would never request anyone to do so or be upset if anyone did not do so.

So, do what you need to do to continue attending your Orthodox parish. Most priests I know will not think anything less of you because you're 'shy'. In time, with your heart open to the Spirit, you will kiss Father's hand out of your love for Christ. And that will be a great day indeed!

I forgot about you being a priest and posting here. It is good to know I'm not alone though. I sort knew I couldn't be the only one, but it seems that way sometimes when everyone is lining up to go kiss his hand and I'm all queasy about it. I think this is just my issue to deal with. Other converts really struggle with things like honoring the Theotokos, but that was never a big deal to me. Kissing wasn't to them either, so I guess it balances out.
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2006, 01:16:57 PM »

I definitely only clicked reply to see if there was a kissy smiley...AND THERE IS!!! YES!!!!

 Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss
Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss

woo HOO!

LOL. Yep.   Wink
« Last Edit: November 24, 2006, 01:17:24 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2006, 07:12:44 PM »

That's interesting.  I would probably try to kiss the hand of a priest that I didn't know more so than one that I did know, just to show recognition of his status, and maybe so that he would know that I was Orthodox also.


Yeah, I agree, but there is also something playing in the back of my head about a comfort level, as well, almost a building of trust.  My parish priest is also my spiritual father so.....there's plenty of comfort there, as compared to just meeting a new person. 
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2006, 07:33:39 PM »

While I learnt to kiss the hands of Slavic priests, I discovered that situation is not universal. In the Church of Finland and in the Romanian Orthodox Church (in Transylvania and Banat), the priest will jerk his hand away from horror if you try to kiss it. In the latter country, priests see it as a strange duty imposed from the severe Russian tradition (as it's especially big in Moldova).

How much kissing do Arab Christians do?
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2006, 09:30:13 PM »


How much kissing do Arab Christians do?

In the Coptic Church lots (yes I know copts aren't arabs, but it's still arabic culture...)... generally preists will try to pull their hand away in humility, but if you're fast enough you can usually catch them.
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2006, 11:38:43 PM »

While I learnt to kiss the hands of Slavic priests, I discovered that situation is not universal. In the Church of Finland and in the Romanian Orthodox Church (in Transylvania and Banat), the priest will jerk his hand away from horror if you try to kiss it. In the latter country, priests see it as a strange duty imposed from the severe Russian tradition (as it's especially big in Moldova).

How much kissing do Arab Christians do?

that's interesting that they think of it as a Russian practice when Greeks and Russians around them do it Smiley  Plus St John Chrysostom even mentions kissing the priest's hand.  I wonder why in Romania it is not practiced anymore.
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2006, 04:44:22 PM »

for fear of.......

dun dun dun.....

GERMS!
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2006, 07:56:45 PM »

I personally think that it is a person's "duty" or "obligation" in a sense to kiss the priest's hand. 

Inasmuch as it is the priest's duty or obligation to give blessing to the person who requests it.  As conduits of the Holy Spirit I feel that it is definately bad form to not ask for or give a blessing, not matter how familiar you are with a priest and vice versa...they're still a priest. 

I even ask my father (who is a priest) for blessings (in public).  So having grown up in this system my perspective is a little bit different. 
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2006, 08:21:54 PM »

While I learnt to kiss the hands of Slavic priests, I discovered that situation is not universal. In the Church of Finland and in the Romanian Orthodox Church (in Transylvania and Banat), the priest will jerk his hand away from horror if you try to kiss it...

Yes, I know some priests who do such a thing, or slip their hand away right before it is being brought to the person's lips.

This has always bothered me, because if the person does not understand that the priest is doing such an action out of humility, it may be construed as some sort of rejection of the person by the priest (I know, because the first time a priest jerked his hand from me, I thought that there must be something horribly wrong with me that only the priest knows about. It disturbed me overly much...)

So, if someone tried to kiss my hand when they shouldn't (say, if there's a hierarch in the room with me) then I'll just clench my arm and not permit my hand to be raised up to their lips, and explain why.
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2006, 08:39:33 PM »

Yes, I know some priests who do such a thing, or slip their hand away right before it is being brought to the person's lips.

This has always bothered me, because if the person does not understand that the priest is doing such an action out of humility, it may be construed as some sort of rejection of the person by the priest (I know, because the first time a priest jerked his hand from me, I thought that there must be something horribly wrong with me that only the priest knows about. It disturbed me overly much...)

So, if someone tried to kiss my hand when they shouldn't (say, if there's a hierarch in the room with me) then I'll just clench my arm and not permit my hand to be raised up to their lips, and explain why.

You could always just karate chop them Wink
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2006, 11:42:37 PM »

You could always just karate chop them Wink

I'm afraid I have not achieved the academic distinction necessary to be able to get away with such a maneuver.... Wink

(note to the board: this is an inside joke that is likely to only be understood among HCHC students...)
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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2006, 12:24:20 AM »

I'm afraid I have not achieved the academic distinction necessary to be able to get away with such a maneuver.... Wink

(note to the board: this is an inside joke that is likely to only be understood among HCHC students...)

And BOY is it understood!   Wink Grin

The nicknames have gotten worse fyi.  (same note as above) 
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« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2006, 01:35:42 AM »

While I learnt to kiss the hands of Slavic priests, I discovered that situation is not universal. In the Church of Finland and in the Romanian Orthodox Church (in Transylvania and Banat), the priest will jerk his hand away from horror if you try to kiss it. In the latter country, priests see it as a strange duty imposed from the severe Russian tradition (as it's especially big in Moldova).

How much kissing do Arab Christians do?

In Ukraine, the kissing of hands of priests does happen, while in Western Ukraine that practise seems a  little bit less common and more optional, so to say. At UOC-USA it is very rare.
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2006, 09:55:30 PM »


Quote
In Ukraine, the kissing of hands of priests does happen, while in Western Ukraine that practise seems a  little bit less common and more optional, so to say. At UOC-USA it is very rare.
Quite the same in Romania. It is a practice more common to Moldova and Wallachia, while it has become nearly extinct in Transylvania and Banat. I've never kissed our parish-priests' hands, although I know from my grand-parents that kissing a priest's hand, while in church, was still common even in Transylvania back in the thiries, forties, fifties, sixtes etc.
Kissing a bishop' hand, however, wasn't dropped yet, if one has a chace to meet one, of course.
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2006, 10:23:04 PM »

Kissing a bishop' hand, however, wasn't dropped yet, if one has a chace to meet one, of course.
Actually, this part also remains everywhere in Ukrainian church.
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« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2006, 12:23:40 AM »

As for kissing icons, I never do it in church. At home, but not in church. I just feel awkward doing it. Our priest doesn't really care if you kiss his hand or not. In fact, he kind of lets out a sigh of "I know you're just doing it because you were told to" every time someone does. He'd probably smack someone upside the head if they did it outside of liturgy though. Lol  Cheesy


Actually, a side question. At the point in the service when the priest exchanges the kiss of peace, he's edited in our church to where instead of having the kiss of peace, all the altar boys and him come out into the congregation while everyone shakes hands and says "Peace be with you". Is this customary? Cause I heard someone say its not a normal practice.

But either way, nobody in the congregation kisses each other unless it's close family.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2006, 12:27:24 AM by Simayan » Logged

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