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Peace, The 

The peace is an ancient Christian practice. It has been associated with Rom 16:16, "Greet one another with a holy kiss," and similar passages such as 1 Cor 16:20, 2 Cor 13:12, 1 Thes 5:26, and 1 Pt 5:14. The earliest references to the peace may be found in writings concerning the baptismal liturgies. After the baptism and the laying on of hands and anointing by the bishop, the newly baptized were included in the exchange of the peace for the first time. Justin Martyr indicates that during the second century the peace took place before the presentation of the gifts at the eucharist. It appears that the peace originally concluded the liturgy of the word. However, the peace was moved to the end of the eucharistic prayer in the Roman rite during the fifth century. The peace was exchanged at the time of the breaking of the bread prior to communion. The peace was exchanged at this time in the eucharistic liturgy of the 1549 BCP, and it continues in this position in the Roman rite. The peace was deleted in the 1552 BCP. The 1979 BCP restored the peace at the eucharist to its ancient position at the end of the liturgy of the word. The BCP still allows the peace to be exchanged at the time of the administration of communion, before or after the sentence of invitation (p. 407). 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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