Pax (2)

Pax called also PACIFICALE SEE PACIFICALE (q.v.) and OSCULTATORIUM SEE OSCULTATORIUM (q.v.), is used to designace the so-called ceremony known as the Kiss of Peace (q.v.). It is also employed to describe a small tablet having on it a representation of the crucifixion, or some other Christian symbol, offered to the congregation in the Romish Church to be kissed in the celebration of the mass. It was usually of silver or other metal, with a handle at the back, but was occasionally of other materials; sometimes it was enameled and set with precious stones. The pax was introduced when the osculum pacis, or kiss of peace the custom in primitive times for Christians in their public assemblies to give one another a holy kiss, or kiss of peace — was abrogated on account of the confusion which it entailed, and in consequence of some appearance of scandal which had arisen out of it. The tablet, after it had received the kiss of the officiating minister (priest or bishop), was by him presented to the deacon, and by him again to the people, each of whom kissed it in turn, thus transmitting throughout the whole assembly the symbol of Christian love and peace without the possibility of offense. In the Syrian churches the following seems to be the way in which the same thing is symbolized: In,a part of the prayers which has a reference to the birth of Christ. on pronouncing the words, "Peace on earth, good will towards men," the attending ministers take the officiating priest's right between both their hands, and so pass the peace to the congregation, each of whom takes his neighbor's right hand, and salutes him with the word peace. In the Romish Church the pax is still used. By the Church of England it was omitted at the Reformation as a useless ceremony. The practice of saluting each other — the men, men, and the women, women — during public worship, and particularly in the agape, or love-feast, is frequently alluded to by ancient writers, as Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. 15) and St. Augustine (Sertm. 227). All the ancient liturgies, without exception, refer to it as among the rites with which the Eucharist was celebrated; but they differ as to the time and the place in the Eucharistic service in which it is introduced. In the Eastern liturgies it is before, in the Western after the Offertory (q.v.); and in the Roman it immediately precedes the communion. The ceremony, which is now confined to the priesthood, commences with the celebrating bishop or priest, who salutes upon the cheek the deacon; and by him the salute is tendered to the other members, and to the first dignitary of the assistant clergy. It is only when the mass is celebrated by a high dignitary that the utensil called the pax is used. Having been kissed by the celebrant, and by him handed to the deacon, it is carried by the latter to the rest of the clergy. In ordinary cases the pax is given by merely bowing, and approaching the cheek to the person to whom it is communicated. The pax is omitted in the mass of Maundy-Thursday (q.v.), to express horror of the treacherous kiss of Judas.

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