STUDIA PHILOLOGICA
“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

Aleksinački Rudnik, Serbia) A Kiss – a Meaning of an Act in Serbs by the Early 13th Century


Authors:
Dorde Dekic University in Niš, Faculty of Philosophy, Niš, Serbia
Milos Pavlovic OŠ “Jovan Jovanović Zmaj”, Aleksinački Rudnik, Serbia

Pages: 257-270

Abstract:

A kiss, for which the Serbs in the Middle Ages had three different words (poljubac, celiv, mir) is an expression of a special non-verbal communication and etiquette and it could be justifiably assumed that it carried an exact meaning and an exact moment of acting. In international law, according to the available written sources, a kiss is an integral part of an act when a ruler appoints his vassal, so we have that Manuel kisses Stefan Nemanja, the emperor Samuel kisses Vladimir. Furthermore, a recorded act of kissing between the Serbian prince and a Byzantine strategos carries a meaning that they are equal in hierarchical terms. A kiss, as a public act with its set meaning, is also recorded in familial relationships between fathers and sons and between brothers. Its symbolic function is largely influenced by Christianity. According to John Chrysostom, each Christian person is a temple of Jesus Christ, while the kiss is the vestibule to the temple. Accordingly, an individual, most often in a joint ritual (or during a ritual), moves to kiss parts of the temple, sacred objects, icons, graves and relics. Here, kissing the temples and icons is, in its essence, expression of love to God, whereas kissing the graves and relics may be understood as how believers relate to the dead. A mutual kiss is recorded also among the clerics at an encounter or at partings. A single act of kissing the clerics bestow to their spiritual children, with or without a blessing. The sources indicate that in the Middle Ages a custom of the Laodicean Assembly was preserved, which included an act of kissing during the liturgy. In the former cases, a kiss can be seen as an act of etiquette, while in the latter case it is prescribed in the canon law. Therefore we can make a conclusion that a kiss had a significant role in both the political and social relationships and particularly in the religious ones.

Keywords:

history, communication, kiss, Serb

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