The proper form of greeting between Franciscan friars

I’m in production of Romeo and Juliet this summer and one of the roles I’m playing is Friar John, who, like Friar Lawrence, is a Franciscan friar. In the one scene that I am in as Friar John I say “Holy Franciscan friar, Brother, ho!” And then I enter his chambers. The director says I ought to genuflect when I enter to greet him.

My question is this: Is this the proper form of greeting between two friars? If not, what is? We are setting the show in Renaissance Italy (more or less) if that makes any difference in what they would do.

I think it should go something like this:

Friar John: What ho, my Brother! Hast thou partaken of that in the pulchritudinous realm of late?

Friar Lawrence: Only the plum of thine sistren, dear Brother.

Friar John: Forsooth! Better mine sistren than she who bore me, though I have partaken of the aforesaid she, and she did not “bore me”. Get it? Nyuk, nyuk.

Friar John: Nyuk nyuk.

No, seriously.

Two monks greeting each other as equals would not call for genuflection.

This was done only in the presence of a superior personage, such as a bishop, or in church, before an altar.

So, I would say, NO genuflection.

After which, they presumably high five each other.

But, on a more serious vein, I’d ask two questions:
(1) What would Shakespeare, as a late 16th-century Englishman, have thought two Roman Catholic friars did?
(2) What would an early 21st-century audience expect them to do, without knowing historic etiquette like this?

In both cases, I think a slight bow – by gently inclining the head towards the other – would be about right. Genuflection would seem to be more appropriate when approaching a representation of God (e.g., an altar) or of a saint, not for a fellow living human being.

Around here (I work at a Franciscan college), the friars just say, “Hi, Dennis” or “Hello, Kevin.”

Absolutely not!
You genuflect only to show respect to the divine – the altar, the body of Christ, etc. Certainly not to a fellow monk.

To clergy of higher rank, you would normally bow. Possibly also combined with kissing his ring, for much higher ranks (Archbishop, Cardinal, Pope).

I think historically a kiss would not be surprising, not that a 21st-century audience would be too keen on this. A ‘kiss of peace’ or at least saying ‘pax vobiscum’ or something.

Some 21st-century audiences might: it would be possible in a version bringing out all the gay subtexts (including Romeo and Juliet both being played by young men, as they would have been in the 1590s).

Thank you all for your replies, I’m not sure whether I’ll try to get the director to change this (we open soon), but I’m glad that my intuition that there wouldn’t be genuflection seems to be right.

You could point out the Wiki article on genuflection

Seems fairly clear that genuflection is to recognize the most holy symbols of the faith, not a fellow friar.

Not even that. Remember, Catholics believe in transubstantiation, meaning that the Eucharist is the literal Body of Christ. It is not appropriate to genuflect before any mere symbol, nor before any mortal.

A bow would not be inappropriate, but I don’t know whether that was the custom, either. I would imagine that even in Shakespeare’s day, the most common greeting would be an informal “Hey, John” (or possibly Brother John), or the Elizabethan equivalent.

As a seminarian, I used to genuflect to some of the priests. When I wanted to really piss them off. I won’t claim expert knowledge of what happened then, but I would be extremely surprised if they genuflected to each other.

You do "kiss the ring " of certain higher level ranks. Which of course is bowing of a sort.

The “kiss of peace” (think close to how the French are portrayed) might be correct upon first meeting.

Otherwise it’d either be by name (as Chronos and RealityChuck said) or just as “Brother”.

And a Franciscan friar, having taken a vow of poverty, likely wouldn’t have a ring to kiss.

No, in fact no Friar or Monk is of high enough rank to have such a ring. It is Bishops and above (no matter how poor they are). Only an Abbot gets such a ring.
The ceremony, which in solemnity differs but slightly from that of a bishop’s consecration, takes place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, after the Epistle. The essentials of the episcopal order are of course omitted, but before his benediction the Abbot takes the oath of allegiance to the Holy See and, like the bishop, is subjected to a canonical examination…Upon his returning to his seat in the sanctuary (if in his own church), the monks of the community come, one by one, and, kneeling before their new superior, pay him their homage, and receive from him the kiss of peace.

Here’s what they say about the kiss:

"Besides bishops, many other ecclesiastics are privileged to wear rings. The pope of course is the first of bishops, but he does not habitually wear the signet ring distinctive of the papacy and known as “the Ring of the Fisherman” (see below in this article), but usually a simple cameo, while his more magnificent pontifical rings are reserved for solemn ecclesiastical functions. Cardinals also wear rings independently of their grade in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The ring belonging to the cardinalitial dignity is conferred by the pope himself in the consistory in which the new cardinal is named to a particular “title”. It is of small value and is set with a sapphire, while it bears on the inner side of the bezel the arms of the pope conferring it. In practice the cardinal is not required to wear habitually the ring thus presented, and he commonly prefers to use one of his own. …Abbots in the earlier Middle Ages were permitted to wear rings only by special privilege. A letter of Peter of Blois in the twelfth century (P.L., CCVII, 283) shows that at that date the wearing of a ring by an abbot was apt to be looked upon as a piece of ostentation, out in the later Pontificals the blessing and delivery of a ring formed part of the ordinary ritual for the consecration of an abbot, and this is still the case at the present day. On the other hand: there is no such ceremony indicated in the blessing of an abbess, though certain abbesses have received, or assumed, the privilege of wearing a ring of office.

'Sup, bro?