Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/134

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gave him wisdom and great eloquence, and spread a golden glory round his mouth, hence his surname Chrysostom (golden mouth).[1]

People kiss the pictures and statues of saints. Down in St Peter's church in Rome there is a remarkable old bronze figure of St Peter, which is said to date from the fifth century, and the faithful have, in all ages, shown the highest veneration to this image, in consequence of which a great part of the right foot has been gradually kissed away.

Even nowadays the kiss bestowed on the pictures of the saints plays an enormous part in the Roman Catholic, but more particularly in the Greek Church. Not only their pictures, but even their relics are kissed; they make both soul and body whole. St Balbina obtained forgiveness for her sins by kissing St Peter's chains, and Pascal's niece was cured of a disease in her eyes by kissing one of the thorns of Christ's Crown. This cure, the historical authenticity of which is, however, somewhat doubtful, made a great

  1. We have here a striking example of how legends arise. John, the Father of the Church, got the epithet "golden-mouth" on account of his great eloquence; but the people sought another more concrete explanation, if I may use the term, of that name, the metaphorical use of which they failed to comprehend.