Why do we kiss a priest’s hand?
His Grace Bishop Youssef:
We kiss the hands of bishops and priests because in the context of the Divine Liturgy, the hands hold and distribute the holy Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ! This is an enduring and centuries old tradition in the Eastern Christendom that has a purely metaphorical connotation; of course, this is not to leave out an underpinning element of paternal (fatherly) respect and affection as well. Kissing of the hands is also done amongst clergy. The blessing of the priest has a marvelous efficacy as being an exercise of the mysterious power with which he is entrusted. Through the prayers offered by the priest, the Holy spirit changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. The priest bestows special sanctity upon Christians and upon the objects. The hand of a priest is, therefore, an instrument for receiving Divine Grace. For this reason Orthodox Christians throughout the centuries customarily kiss the hand of their priest.