Author Topic: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?  (Read 5205 times)

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Offline Sm2014

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Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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?

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2014, 11:01:56 PM »
No.  I usually give my priest the kiss of peace.

Offline Sm2014

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2014, 11:04:49 PM »
What is a kiss of peace?

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.

Offline WPM

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 11:56:23 PM »
Depends on the normative rules of the tradition you choose to follow.
The first 5 books of the Bible.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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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Offline Velsigne

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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 :)

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 »
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Offline TheOldFellow

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.
INXC, Subdeacon Richard.

Offline Sm2014

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.

Offline Patapouf

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.

Offline Anna.T

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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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Offline Velsigne

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.   :)

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. 
A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.

Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong their weapons -- Cheyenne proverb

Offline TheOldFellow

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.

INXC, Subdeacon Richard.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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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Offline liftsifter

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.

David

Offline TheOldFellow

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.
INXC, Subdeacon Richard.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.  ;)

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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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.  ;)

That's an OO move...has he been reading the Manual? 
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2014, 11:05:22 AM »
 ;D  He must have read it!

He's very intelligent.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 11:05:54 AM by LizaSymonenko »
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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.

Offline Peacemaker

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« 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?

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2014, 08:26:34 AM »
Best answers: It depends on the local parish custom and the parish priest.

Offline antonypaul

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2014, 05:51:42 PM »
+Christ is risen

As a newbie priest, straight up, I find it really awkward that someone would kiss my hand. Yes, I understand the reasons why people do it, but it can still be awkward.

I know that a few of us who were ordained together were discussing it, as some readily allow their hands to be kissed, others snatch away. Neither party is allowing/disallowing out of vainglory.

I agree with the early responses: when in Rome.... but it is important to note that the custom is not one of value/worth and the priest is not thinking "Man, I wish these people would kiss my hand, I'm so worthy!"

May the Lord guide you on your journey and fill you with grace and discernment.

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Offline genesisone

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2014, 12:40:12 PM »
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.
My thoughts are mixed on this. When I make the choice to receive a priest's blessing and submit to his authority as a priest, I would find it somewhat offensive that he would forbid me to do so in an attempt to show that he is more humble than I. Undoubtedly there are some genuinely humble priests who can handle this well. Unfortunately, that would make me only more eager to submit to them! Rather a bit of a catch-22, I fear.

Offline lovesupreme

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2014, 07:17:26 PM »
It's definitely not necessary in all situations. However, the practice is important, should be respected, and should be observed if the situation demands it.

The priests at my church are very casual and typically don't prime people for handkissing. They will offer their hand if asked, though. I try to ask for a blessing if it's not awkward; a lot of time I've already started a conversation with them.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is it necessary to kiss a priests hand when saying hi?
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2014, 09:05:05 PM »
In my parish, we kiss everyone and everything. I probably get 30-40 kisses in a Sunday morning. I went to another parish, and people were NOT that way. After some awkward exchanges, I figured that out and stopped leaning in for kisses. It felt strange not to kiss everyone and especially the priests hand.
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