by the Very Reverend Michel Najim & T.L. Frazier"UNDERSTANDING THE DIVINE LITURGY"(A Guide For Participating In The Divine Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom)
The celebrants in the sanctuary go through the gestures of embracing and kissing one another while the congregation sings, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the Trinity, one in essence and undivided.”
The members of the congregation should exchange a kiss of peace, a handshake, or some other expression of love and unity. The people should say to one another, “Christ is in our midst;” to which the response is, “He is and ever shall be.”
The Holy Kiss has been customary since apostolic times.153 Originally it was an actual kiss, but was later modified into an embrace. It has been modified in all Christian rites, both in the East and in the West. Regardless of the specific gesture, the purpose of the Holy Kiss is to signify our personal reconciliation with each other as a result of the resurrection of Christ. Jesus Himself stressed the importance of first reconciling with each other before making an offering to God: “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”154 This is why the Holy Kiss precedes the Anaphora, the prayer in which we offer the gifts to God on the altar.
The Apostle wrote, “For when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son; much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”155 As a result of “Christ reconciling the world to Himself,”156 we are now one in Christ, being “all baptized into one body.”157 This unity will be especially manifest when we begin to participate in the Eucharist itself. “For,” Paul says, “we, being many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.”158
152 1 John 4:20-21. 153 Cf. Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; and 1 Peter 5:14.
154 Matthew 5:23-24.
155 Romans 5:10.
156 2 Corinthians 5:19.
157 1 Corinthians 12:13.
158 1 Corinthians 10:17.
Page created: 24-12-2012.
Last update: 24-12-2012.