In the midst of the 20 nations who came to meet in US for the session to solve the current economic problem, I saw George Bush kissing the Saudi prince on the cheek on both sides, which is the popular custom in the middle east between men. Now as a host and a friend of the Saudi prince it was probably a very warm gesture… but it was nevertheless, a little strange. Specially given that Bush is also the “leader” of the right wing of US conservative for over 8 years.. and many among them would consider this greeting as “gay-ish”.
But there was a time when this kind of greeting was called the “Holy Kiss”!
The holy kiss is a traditional Christian greeting. The term comes from the New Testament, where it appears five times.
It is mentioned in:
* Romans 16.16a – “Greet one another with a holy kiss”
* I Corinthians 16.20b – “Greet one another with a holy kiss”
* II Corinthians 13.12a – “Greet one another with a holy kiss”
* I Thessalonians 5.26 – “Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss”
* I Peter 5.14a – “Greet one another with a kiss of love”
Superficially, there was nothing new in the practice of Christians greeting one another with a kiss: cheek kissing was the normal way that men in the ancient western Mediterranean would greet one another. However, the New Testament’s emphasis on its being a holy and love (agape-) kiss meant that it quickly developed into something more than a greeting. The writings of the early church fathers mention the holy kiss as forming the introduction to the regular Sunday eucharist in the early church.
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