deaconI have received requests to go through the Peace in slow motion, particularly which parts are appropriate for the presider to do and which parts are appropriate for the deacon to do (if one is part of leading the service).

In my book Celebrating Eucharist I have a section on The deacon at a Eucharist in my chapter on Leading Worship.

This has that the deacon’s “roles include introducing the confession, proclaiming the Gospel and sometimes preaching, providing leadership for the Prayers of the People, inviting the congregation to exchange the Peace, preparing the holy table and setting the bread and wine upon it, assisting at the elevation at the end of the Great Thanksgiving, helping distribute the bread and wine, and dismissing the congregation.” [Emphasis for this post].

The Roman Rite has:

The Priest, turned towards the people, extending and then joining his hands, adds:
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
The people reply:
And with your spirit.
Then, if appropriate, the Deacon, or the Priest, adds:
Let us offer each other the sign of peace.
And all offer one another a sign, in keeping with local customs, that expresses peace, communion, and charity. The Priest gives the sign of peace to the Deacon or minister.

From this we havedeacon

  • the presider initiates the dialogue of the Peace
  • extending hands is the gesture that goes with the presider’s words; the gesture is in silence, and precedes the words
  • the deacon invites the congregation to exchange the Peace
  • no gesture is specified to go with the deacon’s invitation
  • if there is no deacon, the invitation, in the Roman Rite, is done by the priest

Compare this with the Anglican Rite as exemplified in A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (NZPB/HKMA) p.419

All standing, the presiding priest says to the people

The peace of Christ be always with you.

Kia tau tonu te rangimarie o te Ariki ki a koutou.

And also with you.

A ki a koe ano hoki.

The people and presiding priest may exchange a sign of peace according to local custom.

[The other rites in that Prayer Book all follow the same format. Even A Form for Ordering the Eucharist p.511, a framework format, has that “The people and presiding priest Exchange the Peace”. NZPB/HKMA is always as broadly permissive as possible, restricting to the presider only what is seen as most strictly required.]

From this we have

  • the presider initiates the dialogue of the Peace
  • no gesture is indicated. IMO extending hands is the obvious gesture; holding a book, addressing a book, is inappropriate; the model of gestures in NZPB/HKMA is consistently – gesture in silence followed by words
  • no words of invitation are given; “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” or similar appear to me to be an invitation that may be used, alternatively (following eg. Ceremonies of the Eucharist: A guide to Celebration p.148) the exchange of peace follows directly after the people’s response with no further invitation required to be added to the rite
  • IMO if a deacon is present in leadership of the service, the deacon proclaims these words invitation, if such words are added to the rite; the presider does not usurp this diaconal role

I would love someone to add in the comments the form this takes in Orthodoxy.

image source 1 & 2

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