The Pax, the Kiss of Peace, the Body of Christ
In the Roman use the Pax eventually attracted to itself the Kiss of Peace, which anciently had been given earlier in the service. In his Apologia (c. 150), Justin Martyr wrote that before the Offertory “We salute one another with a kiss, when we have concluded the prayers.” …this expression of fellowship and unity recalled our Lord’s admonition: “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar and there remember,” etc. (Matt. 5:23).
The Kiss of Peace is referred to in the New Testament by Paul no less than four times (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20, II Cor 13:12, 1 Thess 5:26), and by Peter once.
In the Armenian Church the deacon still says, “Salute one another with a holy kiss” and the people bow to one another saying, “Christ is in the midst of us.”
Luther Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, Revised Ed., 1974, p. 367.