PAX (Lat. for " peace "), the name given in ecclesiastical usage to a small panel or tablet decorated usually with a representation of the Crucifixion, which in the Roman ritual was kissed at the eucharistic service by the celebrating priest, then by the other priests and deacons, and then by the congregation. The " Pax " is also known by the names osculatoriiim, tabula pads and pax-bred (i.e. " pax-board "). The use of the " pax " dates from the 13th century, and it is said to have been first introduced in England in 1250 by Archbishop Walter of York. It took the place of the actual " kiss of peace " (osculum sanctum, or osculum pads) which was in the Roman Mass given by the bishop to the priests, and took place after the consecration and before communion. In the Greek Church the kiss (dpfivri, d<Tira(T/i6s) takes place at the beginning of the service, and now consists in the celebrating priest kissing the oblation and the deacon kissing his stole (see F. E. Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western, 1896). Owing to disputes over questions of precedence the kissing of the pax at the service of the Mass was given up. It is still used at times of prayer by religious communities or societies. In the 15th and 16th centuries much artistic skill was lavished on the pax, and beautiful examples of enamelled paxes with chased gold and silver frames are in the British Museum. Though the Crucifixion is most usually represented, other religious subjects, such as the Virgin and Child, the Annunciation, the figures of patron saints and tlie like, are found. In the " Inventaric of the Plate, Jewells . . . and other Ornaments appertayning to the Cathedrall Clmrche of Sayncte Paule in London," 1552, we find two paxes mentioned; one "with the ymage of the Crucifix and of Marie and John all gylte with the Sonn alsoe and the Moone, the backsyde whereof is crymosin velvett," and another " with the ymage of our Ladle sett aboughte with x greate stones the backsyde whereof is grene velvett " [Hierurgia anglicana, pt. i., I<)02).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)