Kissing the priests hand... Why do they pull their hand away?

I was just chrismated last month so fairly new to Coptic tradition.  When receiving the blessed bread after Liturgy aren't you supposed to kiss the priest's hand? I've often had them pull their hand away when I was about to (usually visiting bishops).. Am I doing something wrong?


  • Hi,

    No, you are not doing anything wrong. Some bishops and priests are just humble enough to allow you to kiss their hands. Some would allow you to kiss the cross if they have one in their hands, but not their hands. 
  • Its just they are humble! You won't lose the blessing .When our lord and saviour jesus christ asks saint peter to wash his legs he say no ,,,,priests got the virtue and autority  of their master and his diciples.This is how it is.....Leading by example.God knows how they love their sheep but they won't allow to be kissed .Some priests may allow by considering love.Both of the are correct and you are also correct.
  • edited October 2017
    It's a symbol of humility that they do not deserve your blessing. You'll find Priests and Bishops who pull their hands away and some who don't. It's mostly Monks who pull their hand away, although I know that the two Priests who Chrismated me, one is down with it, the other pulls his hand away. It's no disrespect to you or anything you did wrong. You'll understand more in time.
  • If Abouna pulls his hand away, don't try and pull it back; it's humility. However, remember that there are certain times when kissing the hand is inappropriate or even forbidden. For example, during Holy Week after Wednesday (i think) we are banned from kissing anything or anyone since Judas betrayed our Lord with a kiss. Also, during funerals/times of mourning, some priests may find it awkward for you to kiss their hand.

    Pray for me
  • edited October 2017
    Funny story: when I was a young boy, a particular Sunday school servant taught us about rites and traditions in the Coptic Church. He explained to us that if a priest or a bishop out of humility tries to pull his hand away, you hold on to his hand so tight, you could even break the hand just to take his blessing. Now of course, he was being hyperbolic, but then later in life this servant became our parish presbyter. So when he tried to pull away his hand out of humility and shyness, I grasped it so hard so that he had no chance to pull back, and boy did he try to pull back, and he was telling me “Mina, what are you doing?” “Abouna, let me remind you what you taught me...”

    Abouna: “I forgot to tell there is one exception: please don’t break my hand.”

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