Kiss of Peace

A salutation as a token of Christian brotherhood named in 1 Peter 5:14 and often referred to in the NT as the “holy kiss” (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Thess. 5:26) and later, among patristic writers, as the “kiss of peace.” It was so mentioned first by Justin Martyr in the second century; he described it as a mutual greeting of the faithful. No limitation of its use is stated or implied; the Christians were simply bidden “to greet one another.” A sign of love and union, the kiss of peace was a part of the Eucharistic liturgy and was maintained in the Western Church until after the thirteenth century. Once actually a kiss, the symbol has been modified so that the persons exchanging it face each other, and each places his hands upon the other's shoulders and each bows his head.