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Beards and headcoverings? #53307 03/16/03 03:03 AM
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Gideon Offline OP
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Are these Traditions still followed in the Byzantine Catholic Church? Beards for men and headcoverings for women? Orthodox iconography shows us men with beards and woman with headcovings, with few exceptions.

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Beards have been the standard apparel of God's people Israel since the creation of Adam. Wearing a beard is so serious a matter that our Messiah even made it a commandment when He revealed the Law to His servant Moses. Leviticus 19:27 clearly states: "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard".

"The beard must not be plucked. "You shall not deface the figure of your beard." St. Cyprian of Carthage AD 250


"Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, "You shall not mar your beards." For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men." The Apostolic Constitutions AD 390
Just wondering,

Gideon


Abba Isidore the Priest:
When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
(p. 97, Isidore 4)
Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53308 03/16/03 04:21 AM
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Alice Offline
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I always assumed that the reason for the wearing of beards on clergy and monastics was so that they would not display vanity. I know that it is an age old tradition of the East.

Although many Greek Orthodox priests now have short beards wink , this was discouraged by our Archbishop during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, in order to assimilate better into the American and Western landscape, and to conform more to their sensibilities.

I am curious as to the practice of wearing beards in the clergy of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Also, would the beards worn by the Franciscan order of monastics in the Roman Catholic church, be for the same reasons that they are worn in the East? (Again, I inevitably think of vanity).

I am open to being corrected by the many knowledgable Christians on this forum. wink

In Christ's love,
Alice

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53309 03/16/03 05:00 AM
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Gideon Offline OP
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Beards in the Orthodox Tradition

http://http://holyorthodoxy.tripod.com/beards.html

Metropolitan Gabriel (Petrov) of Petersburg and Novgorod was once going to a service, where the Archpriest Andrew Samborsky, whose beard was shaved off, was supposed to serve together with him. Seeing Samborsky, the Metropolitan said: "What kind of man are you? Our Church does not accept those who shave the beard. Get out!" Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. 3, St. Herman. Pages 71-72 For many centuries in the Orthodox Church, the commandment to wear a beard was taken very seriously. Even the casual observer of Orthodox iconography will notice that almost every male face, with few exceptions, has a beard. This is no accident. Beards have been the standard apparel of God's people Israel since the creation of Adam. Wearing a beard is so serious a matter that our Messiah even made it a commandment when He revealed the Law to His servant Moses. Leviticus 19:27 clearly states: "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard". The passage carries with it the implication that if we are not permitted to even disfigure the edges of our beard, then how much more the beard itself? This is how sacred the beard is. God put it on the human male for a purpose.

In the times of the Exodus of our Fathers from enslavement in Egypt, being clean-shaven was rather common among idolaters. As mankind had departed from the worship of God and turned to the self-serving pit of idol worship, all things associated with the antithesis of God's commandments became the norm. God had forbidden infanticide. The Canaanites made this a standard practice. Prostitution was forbidden. Temple prostitutes became common. Man had begun to forsake the worship of the Creator for that which He created and, since the beard was placed on man by his Creator, it became standard practice to shave it.

In answer to this, when our Lord revealed His Law to Israel, He formalized the use of the beard by making it obligatory. This obligation was no trivial matter. Every pious Israelite knew full well that it was against his moral ethics to shave off what God had put on him. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had all worn beards. Moses and Aaron wore beards, David and Solomon, and even Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be so meek that He would give his cheeks to those that plucked His beard (Isaiah 50:6).

Apostolic times were no different. The clean-shaven Roman was seen as a model of civilization while the bearded Israelite was looked down on as barbaric. That didn't stop the Apostles, however. The earliest iconography of the Church, with little exception, shows that the Apostles were bearded men, in keeping with the long tradition of our people. By His wearing a beard, the Messiah showed us that not only the obeying of the commandments was the correct path to travel, but that all things natural, when used in accordance with God's will, were a gift and were to be treasured rather than discarded.

Post-Apostolic times also confirmed this. The long-standing tradition of obedience was still going strong. As we can see from the following quotes, the post-Apostolic Fathers were completely in harmony with their ancestors: "The beard must not be plucked. "You shall not deface the figure of your beard." St. Cyprian of Carthage AD 250

"Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, "You shall not mar your beards." For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men." The Apostolic Constitutions AD 390

"How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at a mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them! For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone, growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, a sign of strength and rule." St. Clement of Alexandria AD 195 In the Orthodox West, so strict were they in their adherence to the practices of our Fathers, that there is even a Service for the Tonsure of a Beard. It was not until after the Renaissance that the idea of a clean-shaven face as acceptable even entered the Church. In the 1700's we find that St. Kosmas Aitolos had to exhort men to once again grow their beards in accordance with God's will. His statement is perhaps the most accurate and levelheaded that one will find on the subject. He states: "You, young men, honor those with beards. And if there is a man of thirty with a beard and one of fifty, or sixty, or a hundred who shaves, place the one with the beard above the one who shaves, in church as well as at the table. On the other hand, I don't say that a beard will get you to heaven, but good works will. And your dress should be modest, as well as your food and your drink. Your whole conduct should be Christian so that you will be a good example for others". He makes the clear point that wearing a beard is not for our salvation, it is out of obedience to our Master. And if our Master requires a beard of us, then we shall grow a beard.

In modern times we have made a complete 360-degree turn and have lapsed back into the ancient practices of idolatry and paganism. We find nowadays that everything that was once associated with piety and godliness is being cast aside for that which is anti-God. The birth pangs of the Antichrist are upon us. How much longer we have until the reign of the last persecutor of Israel is unknown. But what we do know is what God requires of us as a people in the meantime. And one of those things, for men anyway, is a beard. It may not seem like much, but everything done for the glory of God is a worthwhile endeavor, no matter how insignificant it might feel. As St. Kosmas said, it will not gain us our salvation, which is a gift from God Who died for us, but it is our obligation nonetheless. May all the men of the Orthodox Church return to the practices of their fathers and grow their beards in obedience to God's will!


*Note: It is pertinent to mention the following story. The author of this article once asked his spiritual father, an accomplished ascetic from Mount Athos, what to do if a job required that he be clean-shaven. His spiritual father told him to shave. This same ascetic told another one of his spiritual children that they should never lose a job over their beard. In stressing the importance of the beard, the Fathers of the Church were advocating this as a general rule. Mitigating circumstances must always be taken into account.


Abba Isidore the Priest:
When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
(p. 97, Isidore 4)
Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53310 03/16/03 05:20 AM
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I think you guys are going overboard on this. It's too scrupulous. The great TEN COMMANDMENTS did not say, "Men Shalt Have Beards" or they'll go to heck if they don't.

I think it's a silly non-sense. Although I do have a beard and I think it looks cool to have men in Church to have beards.

I just think it's too overboard to make such a big deal over beards..."that it should not be taken lightly" or "it's so serious..." yadda yadda yadda whatever.

It's my humble 2 cent.

The Lord looks into the heart of a man rather than the facial appearance of a man's face.

SPDundas
Deaf Bearded Byzantine

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53311 03/16/03 05:24 AM
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Gideon Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by spdundas:
I think you guys are going overboard on this. It's too scrupulous. The great TEN COMMANDMENTS did not say, "Men Shalt Have Beards" or they'll go to heck if they don't.

I think it's a silly non-sense. Although I do have a beard and I think it looks cool to have men in Church to have beards.

I just think it's too overboard to make such a big deal over beards..."that it should not be taken lightly" or "it's so serious..." yadda yadda yadda whatever.

It's my humble 2 cent.

The Lord looks into the heart of a man rather than the facial appearance of a man's face.

SPDundas
Deaf Bearded Byzantine
I asked WOW you really give it. With passion. Thanks SPDundas


Abba Isidore the Priest:
When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
(p. 97, Isidore 4)
Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53312 03/16/03 02:57 PM
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Tim Herman Offline
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It is my preference to wear a beard--and to see clergy with beards--but as for me, not only am I twenty years old and there are not many 20-year-olds with beards...but the skin on my face doesn't quite do well with a beard covering it frown . Perhaps when I am older, I will grow a beard, but as for now, I think it is better both for my skin and my appearance to not wear a beard...

In Christ,

Timothy, servant of God

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53313 03/16/03 02:58 PM
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Apparently it is the custom for men among the Old Believer communities in Oregon to wear beards. One Old Believer, who also worked for the local police department, was required by the department to be clean shaven under threat of possibly losing his job. He shaved. Afterward, his congregation would only let him sit with the women if he came to church (Men sit seperately from women.), so he stopped going to church. Talk about a clash of cultures!

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53314 03/16/03 03:01 PM
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Isn't that a little pharisaical?

Logos Teen

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53315 03/17/03 02:50 AM
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A *little*?!? My word!

As Sharon Mech mentioned in an earlier thread about this, there are men who simply can't grow beards, for example many Japanese. Does this make them ineligible or unworthy of being Christian? I think not.

I also wonder at certain practicalities. If you come from a place/time where razors are uncommon or not available, men have beards, I should think. Not being male I don't know if it's practical to try and rub down the beard with a rock. smile ow.

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53316 03/17/03 03:58 AM
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Logos - Alexis Offline
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What about those of us who can easily grow beards (although I'm only 16, I certainly can), but just don't want to? I could grow one in the summer (since facial hair is not allowed at my school) but I don't want to, and I don't feel the amount of hair on my face affects my relationship with God. I think the beard thing of the early centuries was highly cultural and should be reconsidered nowadays. Just as what we would consider "long hair" now was not considered "long hair" back then, etc.

I think it should all be taken with regards to the culture in which is it practiced.

Logos Teen

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53317 03/17/03 05:56 AM
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Hello

Can you tell me why Roman priests are beardless? is there any rule stating that most Roman priests must shave their beards?
When did this tradition started among them?
Could this tradition be the antithesis of the Eastern tradition where priests wear beards as a sing of masculinity?

I know that there were many Popes and Bishops before that had long beards. And I know some priests and Bishops of the Latin Church with beards, but most of them don't have beards.

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53318 03/18/03 09:58 PM
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My husband has jet black hair and when he has had a beard it has come in firey red. (This comes from being 1/2 slav and 1/2 celt.) I prefer that he not have one, really, as he really doesn't like to tend the doggone thing and I'd really hate to find little birds nesting in it.

I have only see one or two women wearing headcoverings in my church. My baba used to (when I recall her doing this, she was in her 80s and went to an older Russian church), but her daughters did not do so. I, myself, do not. If I visited a church where that was the convention, I would do so. There is an old Russian church locally, where most ladies seem to put a scarf on, and I carry one with me if I visit for that purpose. One should not call attention to oneself in church and distract others, after all.

I'm not terribly concerned with people's outward trappings. I'm not really looking at them and their various features when I'm at worship. I'm more disturbed by disrepectful attire - one doesn't have to dress like a million bucks in church, but one should not show up like it is a beach party. Church isn't the place for flip flops on your feet and cropped t-shirts and shorts. If only we could get absolutely everyone past that behavior, we'll have come a long way. I rarely see anyone like that at my own parish, but I have visited some other parishes where I've seen people looking like they should be eating a picnic lunch and sitting on a red and white plaid blanket.

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53319 03/18/03 11:25 PM
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Logos - Alexis Offline
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Can you tell me why Roman priests are beardless? is there any rule stating that most Roman priests must shave their beards?
Remi,

If I'm not mistaken, I believe it was a rule until recently (perhaps Vatican II, perhaps later) that Roman priests were not allowed to have facial hair.

Logos Teen

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53320 03/18/03 11:29 PM
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The norm in my parish is for men to wear beards. In fact we have only two males over the age of 20 without beards. Only my wife and our Subdeacon's wife wear head-coverings in church.

Re: Beards and headcoverings? #53321 03/19/03 12:23 AM
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My mother used to tell me that when she was growing up and seeing a man with a beard meant that he was married. Only the eligible men were clean shaven.

Growing up in the RC, all women had to cover their heads back in the 50s. As a teenager, I used to have one of those lace doilies with me at all times (just in case I wanted to enter a church).

In my BC church, no women cover their heads. And, I've yet to see a man with a beard (or a moustache for that matter).

Loretta

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