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Author Topic: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?  (Read 518 times) Average Rating: 0
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Sm2014
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« on: April 05, 2014, 10:59:38 PM »

Hello, I was just wondering if it's offensive to not kiss a priests hand when you great them or say bye to them. I always feel uncomfortable talking to any orthodox priest bc I always feel like it's disrespectful if I don't kiss their hand. I just feel like if I was a priest I wouldn't allow people to kiss my hand bc I don't think I deserve such praise. Why do a lot of priests feel like they do?
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2014, 11:01:56 PM »

No.  I usually give my priest the kiss of peace.
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2014, 11:04:49 PM »

What is a kiss of peace?
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2014, 11:46:33 PM »

What is a kiss of peace?

When I greet my priest, I kiss him on each cheek.
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 11:56:23 PM »

Depends on the normative rules of the tradition you choose to follow.
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2014, 12:09:32 AM »

This is a 'when in rome' question. Do what others do.


For example, in my parish it's not an everyday occurrence unless you are kissing the cross at the end of service.

In another parish, everyone would do so upon walking up to the Priest.


Small note about your 'just feel like if I was a priest I wouldn't allow people to kiss my hand bc I don't think I deserve such praise. Why do a lot of priests feel like they do?' comment...

I don't think many priests -feel- like they deserve praise. 

However, and this is -my understanding- of the whole thing......so i am sure the fine folks will chime in and correct me....but it is not about the Priest as a person, but as the hand that serves the Blood and Body of Christ.

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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2014, 12:43:26 AM »

Hello, I was just wondering if it's offensive to not kiss a priests hand when you great them or say bye to them.

No, it is not offensive.

I always feel uncomfortable talking to any orthodox priest bc I always feel like it's disrespectful if I don't kiss their hand.


If you are not comfortable doing it, then don't, particularly if you are a visitor or inquirer.  Your information only states you are Christian and there is no affiliation listed, so it's difficult to know from where you are coming.  

Generally in a greeting situation, if we ask for a blessing, we then would kiss the hand with which he used to make the sign of Christ and the Cross to bless us.


I just feel like if I was a priest I wouldn't allow people to kiss my hand bc I don't think I deserve such praise.

This isn't for the priest to decide for himself.  It might even be on the job description Smiley

Why do a lot of priests feel like they do?

On the contrary, I've heard some mention how humbling it was as a young priest to have people kiss their hand, especially the elderly, whose hands they should be kissing.  They adjust to it, but it wouldn't be Orthodox to be proud or feel deserving about it.  

I hope you can have some comfortable and productive talks with an Orthodox priest and be at peace.  
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 12:44:31 AM by Velsigne » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2014, 03:06:14 AM »

Talking of customs, in some places I have to fight them off trying to kiss my hand, and that just because I'm old, have a full beard, and wear a Russian Undercassock in church.
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2014, 10:40:14 AM »

If you are not comfortable doing it, then don't, particularly if you are a visitor or inquirer.  Your information only states you are Christian and there is no affiliation listed, so it's difficult to know from where you are coming.  


Well it's a bit complicated for me. I was born in Russia and baptized in a Russian Orthodox Church. When I was really young we moved to the states and after we moved my family and I have been attending a nondenominational church for about 12 or so years. When I was about 20 a small Russian orthodox church opened up and my mom has switched over and has been going there since it opened. When I was younger I would come home from college and I would go with her instead of the nondenominational church. Since then I've graduated and I live on my own. I still attend the Orthodox Church but very rarely about once a month. I also go to my fiancés Presbyterian church every now and then. I can't really call myself orthodox bc I grew up with a totally different church structure. I'm honestly just very confused at this point. I'm trying to learn more about what it means to be orthodox that's why I joined this forum.
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2014, 04:18:47 PM »

When kissing the hand of a priest is to receive the blessing that comes from God through him. We thus recognize the validity of his priesthood. Not the hand of the man who is kissed priest, but the priest's hand. The hand that blesses in the name of God.
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Anna.T
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2014, 08:31:24 PM »

My priest mentioned in class last week that the reason why is because the priest's hand has touched the Body of Christ.

In our parish, the people kiss him on the cheek when they greet him.

I always feel awkward, because I am still an inquirer and I don't really know what to do, but he is always very nice and he is comfortable with me either way - he said it's ok to do whatever or to refrain, however I wish to do.

But he says, "God bless you" to me ... and I always automatically start to say "God bless you too" to him but I have read that one does not say that to a priest. Since he has the authority to give God's blessing, but it would be presumptuous of me to offer to him?

It seems there really are many things of "how to act" that must be learned. I usually try to stay behind everyone else to see what to do.
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2014, 09:02:18 PM »



It seems there really are many things of "how to act" that must be learned. I usually try to stay behind everyone else to see what to do.

I have used the 'sit in the back, get in line behind people and watch' technique for the last year and something....

Highly recommended!

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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2014, 12:40:17 AM »

If you are not comfortable doing it, then don't, particularly if you are a visitor or inquirer.  Your information only states you are Christian and there is no affiliation listed, so it's difficult to know from where you are coming.  


Well it's a bit complicated for me. I was born in Russia and baptized in a Russian Orthodox Church. When I was really young we moved to the states and after we moved my family and I have been attending a nondenominational church for about 12 or so years. When I was about 20 a small Russian orthodox church opened up and my mom has switched over and has been going there since it opened. When I was younger I would come home from college and I would go with her instead of the nondenominational church. Since then I've graduated and I live on my own. I still attend the Orthodox Church but very rarely about once a month. I also go to my fiancés Presbyterian church every now and then. I can't really call myself orthodox bc I grew up with a totally different church structure. I'm honestly just very confused at this point. I'm trying to learn more about what it means to be orthodox that's why I joined this forum.

Thanks for explaining.   Smiley

I can see why it seems unusual to you, and why it is confusing.

I'm sure your mom really appreciates that you attend with her.    It's good you are willing to make the effort to sort it all out.  May God bless you in your journey. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2014, 03:06:39 AM »

My priest mentioned in class last week that the reason why is because the priest's hand has touched the Body of Christ.


I was told (Fr Thomas Hopko, if memory serves) that this is a fallacy that crops up from time to time.  If this was true then we would kiss deacon's hands too, since they too touch the consecrated gifts.  I believe the correct explanation is that the right hand of the priest is used for the blessing.

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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 09:55:08 PM »

It is written in the scriptures in:

Romans 16:16
2 Corinthians 13:12
1 Peter 5:14

To greet each other with a kiss (holy kiss) (kiss of love) - depending on translation.
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2014, 12:03:08 AM »

I kiss my parish priest's hand, out of respect for the fact that his hand has held the Body of Christ.

Another priest who I am close with refuses to allow me to kiss his hand, and when I receive a blessing he will cross (IC XC) and then simply give me the kiss of peace. He's a bit too humble.

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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2014, 02:25:08 AM »

Another priest who I am close with refuses to allow me to kiss his hand, and when I receive a blessing he will cross (IC XC) and then simply give me the kiss of peace. He's a bit too humble.

I've found that Heiromonks (Monks who are also Priests) often take that approach, refusing to let their hands be kissed.  I think that they are fighting any tendency to vainglory from their position, which is a very beautiful thing.
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2014, 08:33:52 AM »


My priest is very humble.

People in my parish seldom even ask for his blessing.  Everyone is so comfortable with him, that they often don't see the "office" he holds.  Does that make sense?  ...and he's not one to remind them.

I've once attempted, after years, to get his blessing and went to kiss his hand, only to have him quickly try to grab the cross hanging around his neck to stick it in front of my face for a kiss.  Wink

Would have been awkward with any other priest...however, he just smiled and said he is not worthy to have his hand kissed...with me explaining to him why he was wrong...and sheepishly backing away. 
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2014, 10:48:34 AM »

I've once attempted, after years, to get his blessing and went to kiss his hand, only to have him quickly try to grab the cross hanging around his neck to stick it in front of my face for a kiss.  Wink

That's an OO move...has he been reading the Manual? 
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2014, 11:05:22 AM »

 Grin  He must have read it!

He's very intelligent.
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2014, 11:18:36 AM »

There are many factors here. In my culture, folks my age and older kiss hands of elderly people, not just priests and bishops, as a sign of respect. In the West, kissing of the bishop's ring seems to be the norm if one is a Roman Catholic. I bring this up because a few of our attitudes and customs are predicated on our feelings toward the RC.
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2014, 02:23:29 PM »

Why wouldn't you want to? You are getting a blessing from God, why wouldn't you want that?
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2014, 08:26:34 AM »

Best answers: It depends on the local parish custom and the parish priest.
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