But even this practice in course of time died out, and at the present day the Pax is only given at High Mass, and is hardly anywhere communicated to the congregation.
The celebrant kisses the corporal spread upon the altar (he used formerly in many local rites to kiss the sacred Host Itself) and then, placing his hands upon the arms of the deacon, he presents his left cheek to the deacon's left cheek but without actually touching it.
Ambrose, "Hexaem.", VI, ix, 68, points out), and the modesty and reserve which so many of the pre-Nicene Fathers inculcate when speaking of this matter must be held to have reference to other occasions than the kiss of peace in the liturgy. The use of the formula Pax tecum in some of the later rituals of baptism is probably a survival of this practice.
The veneration shown in the kissing of a person's hand or the hem of his garment is accentuated in the kissing of the feet. At the election of Leo IV (847) the custom of so kissing the pope's foot was spoken of as an ancient one.Then in about the twelfth or thirteenth century the use of the instrumentum pacis , or osculatorium , known in English as the "pax-board" or "pax-brede", was gradually introduced.This was a little plaque of metal, ivory, or wood, generally decorated with some pious carving and provided with a handle, which was first brought to the altar for the celebrant to kiss at the proper place in the Mass and then brought to each of the congregation in turn at the altar rails .Just before the Creed, which itself precedes the Anaphora, the celebrant says, "Peace be to all", and then he kisses the gifts (veiled), while at the same time the deacon kisses his own orarion, or stole.In the Syrian rites, the deacon touches the priest's hands, then moves his own hands down his face and gives them to be touched by someone else. Dean Stanley declares that in the Coptic Rite the kiss is still passed among the people from lip to lip, but the truth seems to be that each one merely bows to his neighbour and touches his hand (see Brightman, "Liturgies Eastern and Western", 1896, p. It is clear that from the earliest times a kiss was not only a token of love, but also under certain circumstances a symbol of profound respect.