The Kiss of Peace was an important part of the early Christian liturgy, before East-West distinctions, as a public expression of reconciliation, mutual love for one another, and unity in the Body of Christ between people sharing a common faith.
For unknown reasons, the practice was abandoned in both the East and West in the latter half of the 14th century.
Mutual love and forgiveness are prerequisites to receiving the Eucharist worthily.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you; abide in My love.”
With the Kiss of Peace, we profess that we share the faith and take our Lord’s commandment seriously.
The Kiss of Peace can be shared by:
- kissing the other person’s right shoulder or cheek (move to your left), then the other person’s left shoulder or cheek (move to the right);
- shaking hands;
or, if either of these expressions create discomfort,
- a reverent bow toward those in the pews around us.
Let us exchange the Kiss of Peace with each another and thus reinforce hospitality in our parishes by publicly professing love for one another and mutual forgiveness. In this way, let us spread the Good News of the Gospel.
For more information about the history and intent of the Kiss of Peace and its restoration to both East and West faith traditions, see the attached document (in English and Ukrainian) or visit http://www.eeparchy.com/2014/03/restoration-of-the-liturgical-practice-of-the-kiss-of-peace-in-the-divine-liturgy/