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vorgos
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« on: June 08, 2011, 05:02:45 AM »

Hi all,

I came across this youtube video where a number of priests are kissing the bishop's hand, or rather they attempt to. He keeps pulling his hand away! Is this normal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xg9x3Q5MBY&feature=related

Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 05:59:21 AM »

In the Coptic Orthodox church, this is perfectly normal. Specially with monks and bishops (being monks in the first place). It is seen as an act of humility and unworthiness.
My church's priest does this too, I think that in addition to being humble, because he is younger than many of the congregants of the church..
I sometimes insist and hold his hand, specially after confession when I myself need to be more humble.
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 11:16:02 AM »

Obedience is greater than humility. He should allow people to kiss his hand. He's a bishop, after all.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 12:03:08 PM »

I know a priest who pulls away immediately every time people kiss his blessing cross, to prevent people from kissing his hand also. Several priests I know are uncomfortable giving blessings and would rather shake hands. I wish priests and especially bishops would allow people to show them honor, but I guess it makes some feel uncomfortable.
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 12:20:28 PM »

I know a priest who pulls away immediately every time people kiss his blessing cross, to prevent people from kissing his hand also. Several priests I know are uncomfortable giving blessings and would rather shake hands. I wish priests and especially bishops would allow people to show them honor, but I guess it makes some feel uncomfortable.

But, the kissing of a priest's or bishop's hand has nothing to do with his person, but with his office, with the grace of the priesthood. I don't kiss their hands because I honor them personally, but because they have the grace of the priesthood. It's not personal.
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 12:29:32 PM »

Hi all,

I came across this youtube video where a number of priests are kissing the bishop's hand, or rather they attempt to. He keeps pulling his hand away! Is this normal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xg9x3Q5MBY&feature=related

Thanks.

But when the women and children came up to kiss his hand, he didn't pull it away. How strange.
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 01:33:54 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 01:37:12 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 01:55:14 PM »

I know a priest who pulls away immediately every time people kiss his blessing cross, to prevent people from kissing his hand also. Several priests I know are uncomfortable giving blessings and would rather shake hands. I wish priests and especially bishops would allow people to show them honor, but I guess it makes some feel uncomfortable.

I agree entirely with what Shanghaiski posted but suspect that your suspicion as to the reason for their actions is correct, bogdan.  Many things make us uncomfortable as we progress through the orders within the Church, particularly when we are new.  I am a mere subdeacon but people show me a deference to which I am unaccustomed in life outside of church circles and to which I had been unaccustomed before I was made a reader and started being seen in church in a cassock.  It sometimes does make me uncomfortable but I think that the key is to remember that what they are honouring is the office of a minister of the church's services and not me personally.  Once we train ourselves to think in this way, we cease to see their signs of honour as something pertaining to us personally, about which we should have to feel uncomfortable, and come to see them as a natural part of church life.  When we come to simply accept this, and be obedient to the customs of the Church which we have received and stop following our desire to push them aside in favour of our own feelings of discomfort, then we may perhaps have a chance at achieving true humility of the heart.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 03:00:30 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.

I once heard that if you see an angel and a priest walking side by side, you run and kiss the priest's hand before regarding the angel, because it is with the hands of the priest that the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 03:01:29 PM »

Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...
primuspilus

Why?
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 03:35:42 PM »

Well, dont take this as if Im being proud, but I feel that by doing that Im showing submission to a person...something i'd rather not do. But the explanation does make sense and I could live with that.

primuspilus
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 03:52:46 PM »

Well, dont take this as if Im being proud, but I feel that by doing that Im showing submission to a person...something i'd rather not do. But the explanation does make sense and I could live with that.

primuspilus

Okay, good.
Personally, I've never kissed a bishop's hand. I've kissed my priest's hand, of course, but not a bishop's. Tomorrow night will be my first time meeting a bishop. Our bishop will be coming to our church (Let's see how many times I can use the word 'bishop' in a sentence. . .).
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 03:55:10 PM »

Well, dont take this as if Im being proud, but I feel that by doing that Im showing submission to a person...something i'd rather not do. But the explanation does make sense and I could live with that.

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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 03:59:20 PM »

I know a priest who pulls away immediately every time people kiss his blessing cross, to prevent people from kissing his hand also. Several priests I know are uncomfortable giving blessings and would rather shake hands. I wish priests and especially bishops would allow people to show them honor, but I guess it makes some feel uncomfortable.

I agree entirely with what Shanghaiski posted but suspect that your suspicion as to the reason for their actions is correct, bogdan.  Many things make us uncomfortable as we progress through the orders within the Church, particularly when we are new.  I am a mere subdeacon but people show me a deference to which I am unaccustomed in life outside of church circles and to which I had been unaccustomed before I was made a reader and started being seen in church in a cassock.  It sometimes does make me uncomfortable but I think that the key is to remember that what they are honouring is the office of a minister of the church's services and not me personally.  Once we train ourselves to think in this way, we cease to see their signs of honour as something pertaining to us personally, about which we should have to feel uncomfortable, and come to see them as a natural part of church life.  When we come to simply accept this, and be obedient to the customs of the Church which we have received and stop following our desire to push them aside in favour of our own feelings of discomfort, then we may perhaps have a chance at achieving true humility of the heart.
So, did they start kissing your hands? Do you impart subdeaconal blessings now?
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2011, 04:02:36 PM »

Well, dont take this as if Im being proud, but I feel that by doing that Im showing submission to a person...something i'd rather not do. But the explanation does make sense and I could live with that.

primuspilus

Okay, good.
Personally, I've never kissed a bishop's hand. I've kissed my priest's hand, of course, but not a bishop's. Tomorrow night will be my first time meeting a bishop. Our bishop will be coming to our church (Let's see how many times I can use the word 'bishop' in a sentence. . .).

Don't worry, it has been my experience over the years that our bishops put on their cassocks one arm at a time, just like the rest of us!  Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2011, 04:09:32 PM »

Well, dont take this as if Im being proud, but I feel that by doing that Im showing submission to a person...something i'd rather not do. But the explanation does make sense and I could live with that.

primuspilus

Okay, good.
Personally, I've never kissed a bishop's hand. I've kissed my priest's hand, of course, but not a bishop's. Tomorrow night will be my first time meeting a bishop. Our bishop will be coming to our church (Let's see how many times I can use the word 'bishop' in a sentence. . .).

Don't worry, it has been my experience over the years that our bishops put on their cassocks one arm at a time, just like the rest of us!  Cheesy

Thanks, that's good to know Grin
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2011, 04:19:32 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.

I once heard that if you see an angel and a priest walking side by side, you run and kiss the priest's hand before regarding the angel, because it is with the hands of the priest that the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared.

Yes, I've heard that saying too. And after a person communes...the angels bow to them!
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2011, 05:19:51 PM »

I know a priest who pulls away immediately every time people kiss his blessing cross, to prevent people from kissing his hand also. Several priests I know are uncomfortable giving blessings and would rather shake hands. I wish priests and especially bishops would allow people to show them honor, but I guess it makes some feel uncomfortable.

I agree entirely with what Shanghaiski posted but suspect that your suspicion as to the reason for their actions is correct, bogdan.  Many things make us uncomfortable as we progress through the orders within the Church, particularly when we are new.  I am a mere subdeacon but people show me a deference to which I am unaccustomed in life outside of church circles and to which I had been unaccustomed before I was made a reader and started being seen in church in a cassock.  It sometimes does make me uncomfortable but I think that the key is to remember that what they are honouring is the office of a minister of the church's services and not me personally.  Once we train ourselves to think in this way, we cease to see their signs of honour as something pertaining to us personally, about which we should have to feel uncomfortable, and come to see them as a natural part of church life.  When we come to simply accept this, and be obedient to the customs of the Church which we have received and stop following our desire to push them aside in favour of our own feelings of discomfort, then we may perhaps have a chance at achieving true humility of the heart.
So, did they start kissing your hands? Do you impart subdeaconal blessings now?

I have no authority, worthiness, or desire to impart "subdiaconal blessings".  One person (a monk, as it happens) kissed my hand when I was a reader and I was visiting a different parish.  He didn't realise I wasn't a priest and it all happened so quickly that I didn't realise he wasn't shaking my hand until it was too late.  We just smiled it off afterwards.  When I spoke of deference, I meant in terms of social interaction, urging me forward to take food first, and such like.  I usually insist that others go before me but there are times when this is clearly people's way of showing respect and offering hospitality, and it seems more politic not to cause hurt feelings by allowing them to perform this small service of love.

That is all.  Let us not read meanings into each other's words that are not there, for the sake of clarity and the avoidance of misunderstanding.

M
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2011, 07:02:40 PM »

That video is funny he keeps whipping his hand away rli quick poor priests lolOl
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2011, 07:06:07 PM »

Well, dont take this as if Im being proud, but I feel that by doing that Im showing submission to a person...something i'd rather not do. But the explanation does make sense and I could live with that.

primuspilus

There is a certain dimension of submission to one's Bishop in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2011, 07:45:35 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.

I once heard that if you see an angel and a priest walking side by side, you run and kiss the priest's hand before regarding the angel, because it is with the hands of the priest that the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared.

Yes, I've heard that saying too. And after a person communes...the angels bow to them!

I'm quite sure that comes from St John Chrysostom?
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2011, 08:31:13 PM »

Hi all,

I came across this youtube video where a number of priests are kissing the bishop's hand, or rather they attempt to. He keeps pulling his hand away! Is this normal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xg9x3Q5MBY&feature=related

But when the women and children came up to kiss his hand, he didn't pull it away. How strange.

He was probably trying to shorten the "kairos" process, since there were many concelebrating clergy who needed his blessing to vest.  I too noticed that he did not pull his hand back from the nuns and the young lady - this leads me to believe that his pulling back from the priests was either to expedite the time needed to bless them all, or that it was some sort of sign of brotherhood/humility.  I'm not sure.  The hierarchs and clergy who pull their hands back have different reasons, ranging from personal humility (I'm not worthy of the attention/etc.) to indignation (Oh, those false-pious people), and everything in between.  I'm still very uncomfortable with people kissing my hands; at the same time, I don't want to make myself Peter refusing the Lord's offer to wash feet.
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2011, 10:58:44 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.

I once heard that if you see an angel and a priest walking side by side, you run and kiss the priest's hand before regarding the angel, because it is with the hands of the priest that the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared.

Yes, I've heard that saying too. And after a person communes...the angels bow to them!

Wow, I've never heard that one.
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2011, 11:06:44 PM »

Hi all,

I came across this youtube video where a number of priests are kissing the bishop's hand, or rather they attempt to. He keeps pulling his hand away! Is this normal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xg9x3Q5MBY&feature=related

But when the women and children came up to kiss his hand, he didn't pull it away. How strange.

He was probably trying to shorten the "kairos" process, since there were many concelebrating clergy who needed his blessing to vest.  I too noticed that he did not pull his hand back from the nuns and the young lady - this leads me to believe that his pulling back from the priests was either to expedite the time needed to bless them all, or that it was some sort of sign of brotherhood/humility.  I'm not sure.  The hierarchs and clergy who pull their hands back have different reasons, ranging from personal humility (I'm not worthy of the attention/etc.) to indignation (Oh, those false-pious people), and everything in between.  I'm still very uncomfortable with people kissing my hands; at the same time, I don't want to make myself Peter refusing the Lord's offer to wash feet.

That's very interesting. But how would the bishop know if people are falsely pious?
And that's a good point about St. Peter. It's kinda scary, actually, that in an act of humility St. Peter was in danger of no longer being a disciple of Christ.
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2011, 11:12:26 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.

I once heard that if you see an angel and a priest walking side by side, you run and kiss the priest's hand before regarding the angel, because it is with the hands of the priest that the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared.

Yes, I've heard that saying too. And after a person communes...the angels bow to them!

Wow, I've never heard that one.

"When you commune and leave church, the angel bows before you!  You stand before the angels, because you are bearers of Christ!  If you do not understand this, I am not saying that you come to church in vain, but that you are not truly penetrated by the significance of coming to church, of the fact that you have to be saved, of the fact that you did not come into the world to perish like any other animal.  You did not come to live a life which terminates in death, but you came into the world with a mission.  This mission possesses a social aspect, but at the same time it is a sacred mission: to spread the word of God, to be an example to all, to exhort others through that which you do, to do good, because this saves you too." - Father George Calciu, “The Great Supper,” Adrian and Mihaela Ulmer (trs), Father George Calciu: Interviews, Homilies, and Talks, Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood (ed), p. 334.
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« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2011, 01:03:48 AM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.

I once heard that if you see an angel and a priest walking side by side, you run and kiss the priest's hand before regarding the angel, because it is with the hands of the priest that the Body and Blood of Christ is prepared.

Yes, I've heard that saying too. And after a person communes...the angels bow to them!

Wow, I've never heard that one.

"When you commune and leave church, the angel bows before you!  You stand before the angels, because you are bearers of Christ!  If you do not understand this, I am not saying that you come to church in vain, but that you are not truly penetrated by the significance of coming to church, of the fact that you have to be saved, of the fact that you did not come into the world to perish like any other animal.  You did not come to live a life which terminates in death, but you came into the world with a mission.  This mission possesses a social aspect, but at the same time it is a sacred mission: to spread the word of God, to be an example to all, to exhort others through that which you do, to do good, because this saves you too." - Father George Calciu, “The Great Supper,” Adrian and Mihaela Ulmer (trs), Father George Calciu: Interviews, Homilies, and Talks, Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood (ed), p. 334.

That's amazing.
Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2011, 01:56:47 PM »

Hi all,

I came across this youtube video where a number of priests are kissing the bishop's hand, or rather they attempt to. He keeps pulling his hand away! Is this normal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xg9x3Q5MBY&feature=related

But when the women and children came up to kiss his hand, he didn't pull it away. How strange.

He was probably trying to shorten the "kairos" process, since there were many concelebrating clergy who needed his blessing to vest.  I too noticed that he did not pull his hand back from the nuns and the young lady - this leads me to believe that his pulling back from the priests was either to expedite the time needed to bless them all, or that it was some sort of sign of brotherhood/humility.  I'm not sure.  The hierarchs and clergy who pull their hands back have different reasons, ranging from personal humility (I'm not worthy of the attention/etc.) to indignation (Oh, those false-pious people), and everything in between.  I'm still very uncomfortable with people kissing my hands; at the same time, I don't want to make myself Peter refusing the Lord's offer to wash feet.

I've seen this done once by a Ukrainian Bishop.   It was kind of known between the priests (under him) that the Bishop would not accept the kiss of the clergy, as they possessed the succession of God.  He did this in humility.   LOL though, looked like he was giving them 5. 

The Bishop that I knew that did this would bless, then do a double "shake" with the clergy.  He would give them his hand, and they would put theirs in his, and then with their other hand they would embrace it.   Probably just a Bishop preference.
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2011, 02:17:48 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Yes, kissing priests/Bishops hands is normal in Orthodox.  In the Ethiopian Orthodox we kiss the clergy's hands under these circumstances

Firstly, any ranking Bishop/Abbot/Patriarch as he is the seat of our Apostolic Authority, and all ordination comes from the laying of his hands, so we kiss these hands in the reverence of the Apostolic Succession of the Holy Spirit which we receive literally at the Bishop's hand.

Secondly, we kiss the hands of the priests who celebrate the Divine Liturgy because their hands have held the Body and Blood of Our Lord and are thus consecrated.

Thirdly, out of humility and filial love for the clergy, in these contexts it is an endearment to our personal priests more so than a genuflection, just as we Christians may kiss the cheeks or shoulders of our dearer friends and family.

Within Ethiopian Orthodox our priests practice an interesting kind of systematic humility.  The assumed leading priests often do not jump right up to lead prayers or the Dismissal Blessings, rather several priests will shyly shuffle amongst themselves pulling at each other to persuade the other to take the lead.  It becomes almost a kind of dance sometimes, as they rotate and shuffle.  IT is not avoiding responsibility, rather it is a personal display between priests of both their reverence and friendship for each other and also their willingness not to take the spotlight, rather to humbly pray in the back almost as if  laity.  Within Ethiopian Orthodox the priests have such a special role in our community that it is refreshing to see that they do not in fact lord over the laity, rather they are as meek and humble about it as anyone else.  Other times, as odd as it seems, it almost looks like stage fright, though as a musician I can attest that after years of public service and public performances, stage fright goes away, so surely these priests who have led for years are not nervous, more so humble and above all else rigidly sincere.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2011, 02:21:38 PM »

Speaking of which, why does everyone kiss priest's and bishops, etc hand? Im somewhat hesitant to do that actually...

primuspilus

Because it is by their hands that the Holy Spirit comes down and makes the bread and wine the Blood and Body of Christ.
In the Ukrainian Orthodox Church we only do it if the priest or bishop has given his blessing.  Thus, we are kissing the hand that has blessed us after he has blessed us.
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« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2011, 02:59:47 PM »

In Greek and Roman times it was always the case that a junior kissed the hand of a senior.

This is an ordinary, and meaningful social custom, which was naturally used in the Church and which continues to have meaning in the Church when in most other Western situations kissing someone's hand would be seen as very odd. People still kissed their senior's hand in England until relatively recently.

It is the modern lack of deference which caused it to fall out of fashion. I am very glad that Orthodoxy retains it and one of the blessings of becoming Orthodox in my experience was being able to submit myself to others, and to show deference to those in authority, those with seniority, even those with age.
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« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2011, 03:07:25 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



It is the modern lack of deference which caused it to fall out of fashion. I am very glad that Orthodoxy retains it and one of the blessings of becoming Orthodox in my experience was being able to submit myself to others, and to show deference to those in authority, those with seniority, even those with age.
Amen Amen to that!

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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