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Author Topic: Practicing the "Kiss of Peace" in the Liturgy - Is it returning?  (Read 4884 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: February 09, 2010, 02:03:38 AM »

This last Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised when our Priest, before the reciting of the Creed, performed his usual practice by turning around and proclaiming "Christ is in our Midst" with our normal reply. However, after this exchange, he then told us to turn and greet one another likewise, as this was the practice in the ancient Church.

This was a wonderful surprise to me, as I've read about the Divine Liturgy and have read that originally the Kiss of Peace was exchanged between all members of the Parish before the Creed. However that fell out of practice and is now only normally performed by Priests with each other at the altar.

I've also heard podcasts of Priests saying they wish this practice would return.

So I was wondering, with Orthodoxy spreading in America, and with so many becoming fascinating with the roots of Orthodoxy and the practices of the Ancient Church. Do you think we will see a return in the practice of the Kiss of Peace?
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 02:13:48 AM »

I'm always suspicious of reconstructionism/restorationism.
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 02:20:35 AM »

I just read in one of my books on the Divine Liturgy, that this is still practiced in many non-American churches. The book states it has (probably) just fallen out of practice here because of our shyness and lack of comfort with exchanging kisses with non-family members.
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 02:21:35 AM »

The practice never left the OO Churches.  It's a nice thing to do, and an extremely ancient part of the liturgy.  You guys should start doing it again.  You'll like it.   Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 02:27:04 AM »

We've done this at my (GOA) parish since before I became a member there; it's all done very circumspectly, by comparison with the Episcopalians I left.
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 02:39:58 AM »

I just read in one of my books on the Divine Liturgy, that this is still practiced in many non-American churches. The book states it has (probably) just fallen out of practice here because of our shyness and lack of comfort with exchanging kisses with non-family members.
It's universally dead in the old world. I am not sure about places in the Middle East, though.
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2010, 02:44:49 AM »

In the former EOC (Antiochian) parish I grew up in, we used to do it for like 10-15 minutes.  Rather ridiculous by typical Orthodox standards, but as I kid I liked it.  The parish still does it for about 1-2 minutes.  I like it, but these former EOC parishes are not typical.  It would just be rather uncomfortable in most parishes (rather disappointing though).
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2010, 02:47:41 AM »

I shake hands with nearby parishioners in Churches which still perform the Kiss of Peace / Christ is in our Midst. 
My own Church has never done that from early recollection to today.

  Wink Alveus, stop throwing around big words that are above my pay grade.   Wink
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2010, 03:10:01 AM »

I'm always suspicious of reconstructionism/restorationism.

It's only restorationism if it occurs to be more like the Church in past times. In this case many parishes still do it, and it has a benefit...so why not??
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2010, 09:34:36 AM »

I just read in one of my books on the Divine Liturgy, that this is still practiced in many non-American churches. The book states it has (probably) just fallen out of practice here because of our shyness and lack of comfort with exchanging kisses with non-family members.
It's universally dead in the old world. I am not sure about places in the Middle East, though.

It is quite alive among the Copts (it is always done), I don't recall among the Syriacs, nor, to be honest, I don't recall among us EO in the Middle East: it may have been supressed with the imposition of rites of Constantinople.

Of course, it is alive among the clergy everywhere.
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2010, 09:35:51 AM »

I'm always suspicious of reconstructionism/restorationism.

I'm not sure the rubric was ever removed.
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2010, 10:19:46 AM »

I wondered why RCs and Anglicans and others do it, but not the Orthodox.  Although most people do greet one another with the three cheek kiss before, after and even sometimes, during the service. Usually just their friends though. I think it's rather nice myself. That way seems more natural than announcing that it's now the time when we are to greet one another. But that's okay too. The RCs and Anglicans usually just shake hands around, like Sol described. The Russians do kiss quite a bit though.
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2010, 11:03:43 AM »

I wondered why RCs and Anglicans and others do it, but not the Orthodox.

Rubrics telling the clergy that they may encourage the faithful to engage in the The Kiss of Peace were added to the Roman Missal in 1970, so that's why: There's official encouragement for it. It's another example of liturgical practices that were revived in the 60s/70s as a result of modern liturgical scholarship (e.g. Quasten's stuff in German). The Kiss of Peace for the laity had fallen out of use in the West by the 13th century or so. Supposedly earlier in the East.

I've never been to an Orthodox liturgy in an Orthodox land (e.g. Romania, Greece) that had a Kiss of Peace for the laity. It's mainly a North American thing.

The way it's been revived, though, is quite unlike its description in early sources. There was none of this "Christ is in our midst" stuff. The greeting itself was some form of "Peace be with you," which was the typical liturgical greeting in all cases of embrace (e.g. when the Bishop would embrace the newly illumined or the penitents who had been readmitted to communion). The Kiss of Peace was a sign that you belonged to the communing community.
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2010, 11:09:45 AM »

Yes, the New Testament refers to the "holy kiss". I know some groups who do practise this amongst their members, whenever they meet. It's a handshake and a kiss-and not usually intersex, but brethren with brethren and sisters with sisters. The Ukrainian Baptists had a similar custom. And they would say "I greet you" or Peace be unto you" upon meeting.

That's why I think the Slavic custom of greeting one another with three kisses before, during or after the service is probably actually closer to what was intended in NT model than the more artificial "exchanging the peace" moments during the liturgy.
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2010, 11:12:01 AM »

If the Kiss of Peace is revived, I hope it doesn't involve the over-kill used in the Catholic Church.  When I was a Franciscan, more time was spent on the "Kiss" than on receiving Holy Communion.  There's no need for people to have to run all over the church to exchange the "Kiss".  Better to exchange the "Kiss" with those closest to you.
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2010, 11:29:56 AM »

What I read was that the Kiss of Peace never fell out of use among the Oriental Orthodox. I agree with Fr. Robert Taft (Jesuit scholar) that we shouldn't be mixing rites. Fox rejected the scholarship of Gregory Dix and wasn't all that keen on "Byzantinizing" the Roman Rite either. Dix was the one, I think, who believed that there was a mythical "mother" liturgy from which all the others sprang. Even if that were true, should we really be trying to return to it?

The Kiss of Peace, or as it's practiced here in North America, the "Handshake" of peace, is one of those interrupting moments. I almost prefer the H1N1 version, where (in predominantly Asian RC parishes) they simply bow to each other. They never had this in the missal of 1962 or earlier. Some customs die out and maybe it's better they are dead. Note, the people who "revived this ancient practice" were the same bunch who abandonned Ad Orientem worship in favor "mass facing the people", and communion in the hand (replete with unleavened wafers, unheard of in 400AD, and an army of Eucharistic "extraordinary" ministers).
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2010, 11:35:49 AM »

The practice never left the OO Churches.  It's a nice thing to do, and an extremely ancient part of the liturgy.  You guys should start doing it again.  You'll like it.   Smiley

When I went to a coptic church for liturgy I remember that the way the kiss of peace was exchanged was very non-intrusive, and it was ONLY amongst "equals" = men to men, women to women, priests to priests, etc. etc. 

They would put their hands together, kiss the tips of their fingers, connect hands with the next person, and then kiss the tips of the fingers again.  It was very beautiful and very personal, IMO. 
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« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2010, 12:08:16 PM »

What I read was that the Kiss of Peace never fell out of use among the Oriental Orthodox. I agree with Fr. Robert Taft (Jesuit scholar) that we shouldn't be mixing rites.

If one is just doing what the rubrics have always called for (on paper) in the first place, how is that "mixing rites?"  And mixing rites has happened before: that's how the Kyrie ended up in the Latin mass.

Quote
Fox rejected the scholarship of Gregory Dix and wasn't all that keen on "Byzantinizing" the Roman Rite either. Dix was the one, I think, who believed that there was a mythical "mother" liturgy from which all the others sprang. Even if that were true, should we really be trying to return to it?

No, but I don't see how that is on point.

Quote
The Kiss of Peace, or as it's practiced here in North America, the "Handshake" of peace, is one of those interrupting moments. I almost prefer the H1N1 version, where (in predominantly Asian RC parishes) they simply bow to each other. They never had this in the missal of 1962 or earlier. Some customs die out and maybe it's better they are dead.


Not all customs killed off are bad.  And some that live on are terrible.

Quote
Note, the people who "revived this ancient practice" were the same bunch who abandonned Ad Orientem worship in favor "mass facing the people",

Not in the Orthodox Caholic Church.  The Vatican had other problems.

Quote
and communion in the hand

A practice many Church Fathers state is the ONLY practice around 400 A.D. (the reasoning being that the hand was made in the image and likeness of God, to which no man made object made by the hands of man could compete.

Quote
(replete with unleavened wafers, unheard of in 400AD, and an army of Eucharistic "extraordinary" ministers).
That's true.
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« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2010, 12:56:11 PM »

Isa, I should have clarified that my complaint was against those who were "Orientalizing" the Latin Rite, and more specifically, how the Kiss of Peace was inroduced into the Novus Ordo missal. I'm all for returning to traditions that were originally part of the rite, but if they're going to do it, they should do it right. To the best of my knowledge, they never had royal doors in the Latin West, but there are root screens. Some Western Rite parishes have revived the practice of holy bread, or "pain beni". This isn't Byzantinization, this is finding and reviving a practice that is originally part of the rite/tradition.

Communion in the hand was the normal practice of the ancient church but it fell out of use in both the West and the East a long, long time ago. Are there any Orientals who do this? I'm well aware of the patristic support for the practice, including St. Cyril of Jerusalem's catechism, which said that the greatest amount of respect should be made for every single particle of sanctified bread, to be treated as if it were gold. They don't mention this much in the modern RCC parishes. This is a case where ecumenically-minded European bishops were openly aping Protestant practice.

My views are just my views - but if I were to re-introduce an older practice such as the Kiss of Peace, I would place greater emphasis on how a practice is being done today, versus how it was written down in a book years ago or how a modern liturgist *thinks* it used to be done. "How do the Orientals do it in 2010?"

Wasn't there an ancient practice of removing the catechumens prior to the Litrugy of the Eucharist? Does anybody do this today?
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« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2010, 01:04:57 PM »

Isa, I should have clarified that my complaint was against those who were "Orientalizing" the Latin Rite,

besides "Byzantine" icons (which seem to be proliferating in every Latin church I come across), how else is "orientalization" going on?

Quote
and more specifically, how the Kiss of Peace was inroduced into the Novus Ordo missal. I'm all for returning to traditions that were originally part of the rite, but if they're going to do it, they should do it right. To the best of my knowledge, they never had royal doors in the Latin West, but there are root screens.

I'm not sure of the connection.

Quote
Some Western Rite parishes have revived the practice of holy bread, or "pain beni". This isn't Byzantinization, this is finding and reviving a practice that is originally part of the rite/tradition.

Communion in the hand was the normal practice of the ancient church but it fell out of use in both the West and the East a long, long time ago. Are there any Orientals who do this?

Yes.

Quote
I'm well aware of the patristic support for the practice, including St. Cyril of Jerusalem's catechism, which said that the greatest amount of respect should be made for every single particle of sanctified bread, to be treated as if it were gold. They don't mention this much in the modern RCC parishes. This is a case where ecumenically-minded European bishops were openly aping Protestant practice.

My views are just my views - but if I were to re-introduce an older practice such as the Kiss of Peace, I would place greater emphasis on how a practice is being done today, versus how it was written down in a book years ago or how a modern liturgist *thinks* it used to be done. "How do the Orientals do it in 2010?"

Someone posted that above.

Quote
Wasn't there an ancient practice of removing the catechumens prior to the Litrugy of the Eucharist? Does anybody do this today?
Yes, the Disciplina Arcana.  No (not that I am aware): the secret is out.
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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2010, 01:16:51 PM »

From "Let Us Attend: A Journey through the Orthodox Divine Liturgy" by Fr. Lawrence Farley...
Quote
After the great entrance, when the gifts have been deposited on the altar table and the clergy have prepared themselves to offer the sacrifice, the deacon says, "Let us love one another," exhorting the Church to exchange the peace. ... The kiss of peace is one of the oldest parts of the Liturgy, going back to apostolic times. In the early centuries, the faithful exchanged the kiss of peace at every Christian synaxis (or gathering), immediately after the intercessory prayers. ... In those early times, all Christians gave the kiss to each other, regardless of gender. Each would greet his neighbors standing around him, wishing them the peace of Christ and exchanging the kiss. By the time of St. John Chrysostom (ca. AD 400), men and women stood on opposite sides of the church, and so each exchanged the kiss with those standing on either side, greeting only those of the same gender. Thus, clergy in the altar exchanged the peace with fellow-clergy, men in the nave exchanged it with men, and women with women. ... It was especially fitting that the kiss hsould be exchanged during the Divine Liturgy, for in the Liturgy the kiss not only seals the intercessory prayers, but also functions as a preparation for offering the eucharistic sacrifice. ... In the Liturgy, through the kiss, brother finds opportunity to be reconciled to brother, and the Church reestablishes herself in the peace of Christ. ... The peace is not a time to inquire into the welfare of one's neighbor, nor is it about mutual affirmation, and it ought not to degenerate into a kind of liturgical "hugfest". Rather, in the peace the members of the church acknowledge one another as fellow members of the same body and each affirms his spritual solidarity with his neighbor, exchanging the kiss and saying, "Christ is in our midst!" (or, at Pascha, "Christ is Risen!"). By greeting only those in our immediate vicinity (that is, about four persons), we can exchange the peace in about ten seconds without disrupting the flow of the service. ... From the days of the apostles, the Church has affirmed the primacy of love by exchanging the kiss of peace at her services. The restoration of giving the peace (where it has lapsed), whether through handshake, hug, or kiss on the cheek, powerfully witnesses to this and manifests the Church as a family, a community which lives and fulfills itself by love.   -Chapter 10: The Peace (several sections removed to shorten the quote)
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« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2010, 01:21:31 PM »

In the Latin rite, I think the Kiss of Peace is the only element they've grafted in from the Orientals. And there's an explicit epiclesis in the Novus Ordo as well. However, it has been argued (correctly, I think) that most of the changes to the Roman rite were doing exactly what Cranmer did with the old Sarum rite. That their main reference point to changing the Roman Rite was not about restoring older practices, but embracing post-Reformation practices among Protestants. Communion in the hand shoud never have been reintroduced. Again, the reference point of the European bishops wasn't St. Cyril of Jerusalem, or the Orientals, but the Lutherans and the Anglicans.

The main reason you see icons in Latin-rite Roman Catholic churches now, is that post-Vatican II iconoclasts threw out the old statuary, and when there was a choice to replace the modernist elements with something older and authentic, they went with icons.
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« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2011, 02:32:08 PM »

It's universally dead in the old world. I am not sure about places in the Middle East, though.

In all the churches I visited in Georgia, the kiss of peace was practiced among the laity (although it was more of a bow/nod of peace, no physical contact).
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2011, 03:24:05 PM »

The practice never left the OO Churches.  It's a nice thing to do, and an extremely ancient part of the liturgy.  You guys should start doing it again.  You'll like it.   Smiley

I've only experienced this at one Orthodox Church I have been to (OCA); all total, so far I've been to three different ones: OCA, GOA, and Moscow Patriarchate.

Personally, I'm not crazy about it and didn't expect it it this one church. I'm a former Traditional Roman Catholic, and one of the things I detested about the bogus ordo missae of the new Roman church is the "handshake of peace" they put into it (in the Tridentine Latin Mass, there is nothing like that).

BUT if this is a genuine part of the EASTERN Divine Liturgy which had fallen by the wayside over the years, I think I can get used to it.
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« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2011, 03:44:54 PM »

In my parish we greet eachother with it when we meet(I am not sure if this is normal,ut that's how we do it Smiley) I remember the first time I was greeted with the kiss of peace. it felt a bit awkward since I was totally unprepared Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2011, 05:04:38 PM »

In my parish we greet eachother with it when we meet(I am not sure if this is normal,ut that's how we do it Smiley) I remember the first time I was greeted with the kiss of peace. it felt a bit awkward since I was totally unprepared Cheesy

I was unprepared for the handshake, so I know what you mean. Smiley Traditioal Western liturgies (Traditional RC, Orthodox Jewish, etc) don't have that....and all I could think when it first happened was, "Oh, NO! The novus ordoisms strike again!" lol

But it evidently IS part of the Eastern Liturgy.
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« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2011, 06:18:18 PM »

This is one of the things I DON"T like in North AMerican Orthodox liturgies.  WHenever the bishop presides, the Kiss of Peace is never given. Why?  Because this is reserved for the clergy; it is not for the laity.

Besides, the Kiss of Peace turns into a fiasco;  people are extremely noisy about it and even once we've started saying the Creed, too many people are still exchanging the kiss of peace (actually, they're chatting about the weekend and other topics) that the words of the Creed are competing with "where did you go for dinner last night?"  It's a practice that should be deinstitutionalized.
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2011, 11:42:36 PM »

serb1389,
this is exactly how we do it in the coptic church.
88devin12,
great quote. yes we do it to remind ourselves it is dangerous to take Holy Communion if we don't have good fellowship with our brothers and sisters.
as saint john said 'he who says he loves God but hates his brother is lying'.

as for communion in the hand, they do it in the british orthodox church, or, if you open your mouth, they pop it in. (there must be a 'proper' way to say this, but 'pop it in' comes to mind).

about catechumens not attending the whole liturgy, this was not the normal practice for the fist 100 - 200 years, it was something that had it's place and time, but is no longer practiced.
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