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Holy Kiss of Peace In the Celebration of the Holy Qurbono [Eucharist] Holy Kiss of Peace is a regular practice of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the other churches following the Syriac patrimony. In the Liturgy, Anaphora of the Faithful [which comes after the Worship of the Catechumens] opens with the ceremonial holy kiss of peace. The celebrant prays like this: "O God the Father, the Creator of all and especially of man whom You made rational in Your image.You brought him into existence and adorned him with Your divine gifts You ordained for us the law to love one another desiring that we all be one, just as You and Your Only Begotten Son our Lord and our God Jesus Christ are one. Freeing us from all divisions and uniting our hearts in the fellowship and the unity of your Holy Spirit make us worthy to greet one another with a holy kiss and thus becoming one body and one spirit even as we have been called in one hope of our calling in Christ Jesus our Lord with Whom befit You praise glory and honor with Your Holy Spirit who is good, life-giving and consubstantial with You now and always and forever." The congregation says Amen to this prayer of the celebrant and then the celebrant says “Peace be unto you all.” The congregation responds “And with your spirit” Meanwhile the Celebrant conveys the Heavenly kiss of peace to the deacon who conveys it a few persons of the congregation, exhorting the congregation with these words “Let us give peace to one another, every one to his neighbor by the Holy and Divine Kiss in the Love of our Lord and our God” How to make the Holy Kiss of Peace: The person who receives the Kiss of Peace from the deacon stands face to face with the next person in the congregation with his hands outstretched the breadth of the palms being held vertically with the thumps at the top leaving a little space between the two palms. Then the other person also does the same and inserts his right palm in to the gap between the two palms of the first person. Thus the four palms will be held closely and lightly squeezed for a moment in such a way that the right palm of each person will mutually be within the palms of his neighbor. Then the palms will be withdrawn, and each person has to kiss his own palms. This process will be continued until every one of the congregation shall have received the Holy Kiss of Peace from his neighbor. How wonderful is this process! No embracing. It is fully hygienic as there is no meeting of the lips. Kissing of the palm after touching the palm of another is equal to kissing the other person.
According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, “The holy kiss accompanied social worship as a symbol of brotherly love (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12 --"Greet one another with a holy kiss"; 1 Thess. 5:26 --" Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss"; 1 Pet. 5:14)." "The 'holy kiss' was that with which Christians greeted each other, which, according to the general usage we have seen, would be as the members of one family in the Lord, or as especially united in holy love (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Pet 5:14). There is reason to believe that, as a rule, men only thus greeted men, and women, women." --ISBE "Whatever means of expressing greetings we use, let them be genuine. Right now, what do you do? Ball up your fist and hit somebody’s knuckles." --John Piper "While in today’s culture we might not greet one another with an actual kiss, we can show acceptance and love toward one another by being purposeful and loving in our greetings. With a friendly smile, direct eye contact, and kind words, we can make one another feel loved and welcomed, regardless of our differences. We may not exchange a kiss as a greeting today, but we do have ways that make others feel welcomed. Consider the ways your church welcomes visitors. What can you, personally, do to extend the love of Christ to others?" --Chris Rappazini
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