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Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70843 05/04/06 06:23 PM
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Fr. Thomas Offline
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It's sort of an interesting thing, to see how this has evolved so far in the past 100 years. When the Russian church was establishing parishes and sending clergy to America in the late 1800's and early 1900's, the notion (in Russia) was that clergy should cut their hair and dress according to Western clerical standards when working in America. (In fact, there is a picture of now St John Kochurov arriving in Chicago from the train station in western clerical garb.) Although this was indeed an unwritten prescription, one only need to see many of the historical photographs of the time to realize that the attitude was one of accomodation. It was also greatly misplaced, or at least, the misunderstood the problems it might cause down the road.

When I was growing up, my grandfather and father frequently wore Roman collars. Actually, my grandfather wore an Anglican (dog) collar, while my father preferred the Roman. It was rare for either of them to wear cassock's outside of the church. This was quite common at the time, I believe.

I think there began to be a bit of a backlash, at least in the circles that I run in, in the 70's and 80's. Attitudes became somewhat more traditional amongst the younger priests, and most especially with converts. It is common knowledge that a significant percentage of Orthodox priests in most of the major jurisdictions are converts. The GOA would be an exception, but I think even there it is changing.

Today, at least in the OCA, there seems to be (unfortunately) a few recognizable voices that are warning that the OCA is indiscriminately adopting what they now call "old-world" practices from traditionally Orthodox countries. One could easily conclude that among them would be traditional clerical garb as opposed to business suits and collars.

It is interesting to see the different cultures at work here. If you go to the various jurisidictional websites and view pictures from national gatherings, you'll see that in the Antiochian clergy/laity gatherings, all clergy (including the bishops) are in business suits and collars. In the GOA, it's somewhat mixed (I think?) and in the OCA during All-American Councils, clergy are required to wear riassa and pectoral cross. Of course this would also be the case for ROCOR.

Although it seems like a minor issue, which ultimately it is in relation to, say, doctrine, I think this will be an interesting development as time goes on and the jurisdictions grow necessarily closer to one another.

Priest Thomas

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70844 05/04/06 06:50 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
In fact, there is a picture of now St John Kochurov arriving in Chicago from the train station in western clerical garb.
St. John Kochurov isn't the only American saint we have in photos wearing Western clerical garb. Here's one of St. Raphael Hawaweeny in a suit, overcoat, fedora and cane!

St. Raphael Photo

Maybe the Antiochians are just following in his footsteps. wink

I was very surprised when I went to Romania, since I expected to see priests in cassocks (I think they're called "reverenda" in Romanian) all over the streets--but most married clergy do not wear clerical garb in public. I was told that this might be a holdover from Communist times, when clerical garb was forbidden. Some Romanian priests did wear a white shirt with a specific type of black vest over the top of it--they're "dressed down" a bit, but are still recognizable as Orthodox priests.

Dave

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70845 05/04/06 07:04 PM
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I wouldn't mind if there were develped for American clergy a sort of half-length cassock (like of like a Nehru jacket, but longer) that would be more amenable to Western tastes just for day to day activities (like taking the kids to soccer) and use the cassock for more churchly activities.

Maybe I'll start a fashion trend?

PT

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70846 05/04/06 07:22 PM
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Christ is Risen!

Quote
Although it seems like a minor issue
Father Bless,

Perhaps, but I think it is part of something deeper.

Andrew

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70847 05/04/06 07:37 PM
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It could be something deeper, but it's also something personal. It's difficult for Orthodox priests who might be shaken by the stares, comments, funny looks, judgments, off-handed comments, etc., of wearing traditional garb in a society that knows nothing of it. For me, it's not that, because I'm over that, although I still get the stares, but I just don't care. smile (For instance, after Liturgy this past Sunday, I was driving to one of the cemeteries for the grave blessings and I stopped in a local drug store for something to drink. As I walked in, in my cassock and cross of course, there were four teenage boys staring me down - and trust me, this wasn't out of respect - I just walked right past them. They were still out there when I came out, and one of them made some comment loud enough for me to hear, but I just kept walking. I suppose I could have engaged them in some 'evangelization,' but I was in a hurry. :rolleyes: )

But for some priests, it's probably just too much for them. I don't want to say they're "embarassed" or "ashamed" - I really don't think that's it. They just don't want to go through the hassle that you might encounter. I've heard some priests say not to wear a cassock to the hosptial 'because you'll scare people, thinking you're the angel of death.'

Oh well.

I'll never forget my first year or so in my parish. My parishioners rarely see me in anything but a cassock. I went down to choir rehearsal one day and I had just come from some rare occassion where I was wearing a Roman collar. One (long time) parishioner looked up and said, "Finally, you look like a priest!"

She was dead serious.

Sadly, you even have to deal with it even from your own people. confused

Priest Thomas

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70848 05/04/06 08:40 PM
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Deacon Robert Behrens Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
I wouldn't mind if there were develped for American clergy a sort of half-length cassock (like of like a Nehru jacket, but longer) that would be more amenable to Western tastes just for day to day activities (like taking the kids to soccer) and use the cassock for more churchly activities.

Maybe I'll start a fashion trend?

PT
There is an OCA-approved clerical tailor in Endwell, NY, by the name of Nikita Borisov. (He has a website). In addition to making Russian, and Greek-style vestments, he also makes cassocks, riasas, skufias, etc. He has a line of clerical shirts which have collars in the style of a Russian cassock.They look a bit like Russian peasant shirts. As a Greek Catholic Deacon, I prefer those shirts to the Roman collar. The last time I was there, he had them in black, white, dark blue, and light blue. I have everything but the white one. Of course, when I wear the light blue one, my wife says I look like a dentist. But, if you haven't been in touch with him, I would recommend that you do contact him. He is inexpensive. He sometimes sets up a display at the St. Tikhon's Pilgrimage on Memorial Day Weekend here in NE Pa.

Fr. Deacon Robert

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70849 05/04/06 08:51 PM
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Deacon Robert Behrens Offline
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Nikita Borisov\'s Website

Here is the website for the above-mentioned tailor. Dn. Robert

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70850 05/04/06 08:54 PM
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Deacon Robert Behrens Offline
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Nikita Borisov\'s Clerical Shirts

I feel like "Colombo", but here is a link to pictures of Nikita's clerical shirts.

Dn. Robert

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70851 05/04/06 09:56 PM
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Alice Offline
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Originally posted by MizByz1974:
Dear Alice,

The priest at the Greek Orthodox church I went to on Good Friday had long hair, pulled back in a ponytail, and a long beard. He's from Cyprus, as it turns out... do you think he might know Bishop "Maximos"? wink

God bless,

Karen
Karen,

My husband was just in Florida on business and attended a church with a priest who seems to fit that description (though my husband said that he was American)! What is the church's name and where exactly is it?

In Christ,
Alice

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70852 05/04/06 10:14 PM
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As a Moderator of this forum, I would humbly like to thank Father Thomas for his honest and down to earth input on this topic! smile

There are many reasons that our good priests don or feel comfortable in different clerical garb, and I don't think that we should judge as long as they are recognizable as clergy.

On the other hand, I know some clergy that dress in t-shirts, shirts, jackets, pants, sandals and shorts (*without any visible cross*)--in other words, everything that a lay person wears, but rationalize it because these garments are all in solid black. Personally, in certain outfits (like the black pants, black shirt and black sports jacket) I have seen them in, I think that they may look more like Mafioso wannabes than anything else! eek *WINK* eek

But, as the French say, 'chacun a son gout'!

In Christ,
Alice

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70853 05/04/06 10:25 PM
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Alice Offline
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Priest Thomas
(Who has a trimmed beard and short hair - although I want to grow it long, but my wife said no... I'll have to wait until the kids are out of the house! )
For the sake of economy, and a good marriage, a husband should always listen to his wife on such matters! wink smile

Respectfully,
Alice

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70854 05/04/06 11:15 PM
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Christ is Risen!

I have found great value in your posts on this subject Fr. Thomas. Thank you.

Andrew

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70855 05/05/06 01:42 AM
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Dear Father Thomas,

Thank you very much for your posts. However, I disagree with your stance on not wearing your Cassock to soccer games, etc.

Additionally you posted,

"I wouldn't mind if there were develped for American clergy a sort of half-length cassock (like of like a Nehru jacket, but longer) that would be more amenable to Western tastes just for day to day activities (like taking the kids to soccer) and use the cassock for more churchly activities.

Maybe I'll start a fashion trend?

PT"

Again I disagree. But not quite completely in this case. I could see possible uses for a short Cassock for hunting, wading in water (like when fishing), working on a ladder, running from the Matushka, etc. biggrin

In fact, when my Grampa was in the Seminary the Seminarians had one such customized Cassock which they shared. The Seminarians were required to wear their Cassocks at all times, with a few exeptions such as when playing baseball. If a Seminarian was caught not wearing his Cassock, say for going from his room to the bathroom, or if the Seminarian was caught not wearing his trousers under his Cassock on a hot day, etc. the Seminarian would have to wear a Cassock while playing baseball as a punishment. The punished Seminarian would then wear the shared short Cassock while playing baseball. The short Cassock was actually an old, probably somewhat tattered Cassock that had been cut to be shorter. I believe the shortened Cassock came a little past the waist. (Although that may depend on who was being punished at the time biggrin )

Once again Father, here is another example where the Roman Catholics beat the Orthodox to the creation and implementation of darn modern innovations. biggrin

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70856 05/05/06 01:58 AM
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I think the reason why clergy wore suits in the USA and Australia was more related to anti Catholic sentiments which were very strong in both countries. It is not the usual thing for RC religious or clergy to wear Cassocks in public here. Community attitudes have softened considerably in recent times and now no one would care. Even the sisters in the UK did not wear habits outside their convents as they would be stones for it until very late in the 19th century. I suspect that clergy from other places also picked up on this and also wores suits in public places as result. They style was already in use by Protestant clergy. There was a suggestion in the 1850s that wearing cassocks was going to be banned anyway in places like Britain (possibly the whole empire) where the wearing of habits had been resummed so to prevent this almost over night it was stopped. Things were happening too soon too fast there.

Good to see that in Father's house the house bishop rules yet again:D

ICXC
NIKA

Re: PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY #70857 05/05/06 02:42 AM
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I remember being in the Cleveland airport, pre-9/11, and I was comming out of the plane and was walking to head out of the terminal, and I saw a couple of (Orthodox) priests in robes, raissas, and pectoral crosses, and I knew a one of them, so I got his blessing and we chatted for a bit.

They were waiting to greet their Archbishop, who was to fly in.

It was really nice to see because they looked so dignified. From what I remember, not too many people were staring... maybe its because its a common sight just down the road in Parma....

I have seen, many times, various bishops of a certain jurisdiction who wear a Roman shirt without a collar, no Panagia, and go to parish banquets, hold vocation retreats, and official things like that.

Of course, Bishop Basil (Losten) of Stamford is the exception. You can see him anywhere with his purple klobuk. cool

-uc

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