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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Beards?
« on: December 03, 2009, 11:54:09 PM »
Someone on another thread mentioned that Orthodox Priests wear beards and grow their hair long according to Nazarite custom or law. Is this true?

I have always wondered why many Orthodox Priests have long beards. I guess I just thought it was because this is natural, which I associate with being spiritual. Also, I thought it was a way of being separate from the world, which is consumed with vanity and appearance.

I have kept an untrimmed beard for many years now because of these reasons. But do Orthodox Priests really grow their beards because of Nazarite law?

OK, thanks for any clarification, comments, or opinions.

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« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 11:55:14 PM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
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Offline Vlad

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2009, 11:59:32 PM »
I am not sure exactly what it is but I do believe there is some canon law that says that facial hair is required. I could be wrong though.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2009, 01:04:26 AM »
I am not sure exactly what it is but I do believe there is some canon law that says that facial hair is required. I could be wrong though.
Actually there isn't any such canon in the Eastern Orthodox Church requiring clergy and monastics to have long hair and beards. In fact Canon 42 of the Quintisext Ecumenical Council says the opposite, that is, that monastics who choose to live in monasteries must cut their hair short. Long hair and beards were a much later innovation.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2009, 01:05:34 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2009, 02:16:15 AM »
I am not sure exactly what it is but I do believe there is some canon law that says that facial hair is required. I could be wrong though.
Actually there isn't any such canon in the Eastern Orthodox Church requiring clergy and monastics to have long hair and beards. In fact Canon 42 of the Quintisext Ecumenical Council says the opposite, that is, that monastics who choose to live in monasteries must cut their hair short. Long hair and beards were a much later innovation.

Thanks Ozgeorge. Can you tell us how this later innovation developed?

Selam
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2009, 02:26:42 AM »
It sure looks like an ancient practice!  :-\

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2009, 03:52:15 AM »
Well, one of the issues at dispute in the 9th century tug-of-war for Bulgaria was the practice of Easterners having beards, so apparently it can't have been too late an innovation.

Offline witega

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2009, 03:53:43 AM »
There's an interesting bit in St. Bede's Ecclesiatical History about what happened when St. Theodore of Tarsus, a Greek monk, was chosen by Rome to take over the mission to England as the new Archbishop of Canterbury:

"Theodore, being ordained subdeacon, waited four months for his hair to grow, that it might be shorn into the shape of a crown; for he had before the tonsure of St. Paul, the Apostle, after the manner of the eastern people. He was ordained by Pope Vitalian, in the year of our Lord 668, on Sunday, the 26th of March, and on the 27th of May was sent with Hadrian to Britain."

Apparently, the original 'manner of the eastern people', going back to the first monasteries in Egypt (although obviously St. Bede ascribes it to St. Paul himself), was that monastic tonsure was a full shaving of the head. And so St. Theodore had to wait for his hair to grow back out long enough that only the top could be reshaved in the standard Western form.
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2009, 04:04:59 AM »
Well, one of the issues at dispute in the 9th century tug-of-war for Bulgaria was the practice of Easterners having beards, so apparently it can't have been too late an innovation.

Only in Orthodoxy is something from the 9th Century a "modern innovation"!!!  :D
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2009, 04:21:01 AM »
There's an interesting bit in St. Bede's Ecclesiatical History about what happened when St. Theodore of Tarsus, a Greek monk, was chosen by Rome to take over the mission to England as the new Archbishop of Canterbury:

"Theodore, being ordained subdeacon, waited four months for his hair to grow, that it might be shorn into the shape of a crown; for he had before the tonsure of St. Paul, the Apostle, after the manner of the eastern people. He was ordained by Pope Vitalian, in the year of our Lord 668, on Sunday, the 26th of March, and on the 27th of May was sent with Hadrian to Britain."

Apparently, the original 'manner of the eastern people', going back to the first monasteries in Egypt (although obviously St. Bede ascribes it to St. Paul himself), was that monastic tonsure was a full shaving of the head. And so St. Theodore had to wait for his hair to grow back out long enough that only the top could be reshaved in the standard Western form.
The wreath-like haircut was the standard for monastics of both East and West at the time of the Councils (ccf Canon XXI of the Quintisext). St. Nicodemos mentions this fact in the Rudder in his commentary on this Canon.
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2009, 07:25:45 AM »
It sure looks like an ancient practice!  :-\

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Offline Michael L

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2009, 10:17:51 AM »
I remember a Russian Priest telling me: "We are taught and believe that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Seeking to alter that image and likeness - by removing the beard, for example - seems, therefore, blasphemous."

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2009, 10:22:02 AM »
Many Orthodox sources say that clergy should wear beards in imitation of Christ (not to fulfill Nazarene law per se, but simply because Christ had a beard...).

Some even say that all men should do so. Earliest source I can think of along those lines is Clement of Alexandria (c.150 - c. 215), who, as a good late antique philosopher, believed that all men should be bearded, as were all philosophers (i.e. men who pursued the truth and lived according to its precepts). In his mind, obviously Jesus had a beard and obviously Leviticus was correct about beards, since to not have a beard would be a womanly, wimpy, vain thing. How could a man concerned with eternal truth spend time shaving, primping and preening? He has a great passage that says that one can't even tell such girly "men" are men unless you see them naked at the gym. Otherwise, you'd think they were women.

The very earliest representations of Christ portray him as a beardless youth, since this was the proper way to portray the "Good Shepherd" (a universal philosophical symbol that represented philanthropy), and it also looked nice and Imperial. After Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, though, many Roman Emperors and members of the upper class wore beards, so there are third and especially fourth century Icons that portray Christ and the Apostles as wearing beards. This became the norm on everything from ivory carvings to mosaics in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries. However, these portrayals usually show a short beard, much like what one sees in current Icons of St. John Chrysostom.

From this, and things like the Quintisext Council, it seems short hair and short beards were the norm, except in the case of true hermits, monks who lived in the desert or, later on, more extreme practitioners of asceticism like stylites or fools for Christ.

In the Iconoclastic period, iconodules, many of whom were monks, were often associated with beards. Thus, there are sources from the 8th century that speak of governors of the theme rounding up monks, cutting off their noses and then tarring their beards and lighting their tarred beards on fire.

Much later on, Peter the Great would wage a war against the beard as well. He required all his nobels to shave, and there's a story that he personally ripped the beard off of a pious nobleman who objected on religious grounds. Florensky has an awesome, multi-page footnote in The Pillar and Ground of the Truth about Peter's campaign against the beard and, more generally, the place of beards in Russian Orthodox culture.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2009, 11:15:08 AM »

...beards on fire.


 Sounds like a great name for a Punk band!  :)
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2009, 11:31:13 AM »
Or a name for a great punk rock song.

I may have to get to work on that
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2009, 11:34:42 AM »
It goes way way back to the pr-nicene days:

"This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature......It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.


"It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man's natural and noble adornment." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"The beard must not be plucked. "You will not deface the figure of your beard"[Lev 19:32] Cyprian 250 A.D.

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


"Let the head of men be clipped, unless they have curly hair. But let the chin have the hair. ....Cutting is to be used, not for the sake of elegance, but on account of the necessity of the case.....so that it may not grow so long as to come down and interfere with the eyes." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.


So the tradition of christians having beards goes way way way way back.








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Re: Beards?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2009, 11:37:49 AM »
It goes way way back to the pr-nicene days:

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



Every time I see this particular quote, I can't help but think that, if this is true, then God did not create the men of North American Indian peoples, the vast majority of whom cannot grow a beard (those that can now usually have European ancestry), or, at the very least, they're all hermaphrodites of some sort.

OF COURSE, I'm being facetious in those statements.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2009, 11:38:41 AM by Schultz »
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Offline Feanor

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2009, 11:38:08 AM »
I think it's a matter of personal preference. Among the Antiochian priests I know about half of them have beard, half do not. Personally I think beards are more appropriate than clean-shaven for Orthodox clergy. Everyone looks better with a beard. :p

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2009, 11:43:58 AM »
Quote
"The very earliest representations of Christ portray him as a beardless youth, since this was the proper way to portray the "Good Shepherd" (a universal philosophical symbol that represented philanthropy), and it also looked nice and Imperial. After Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, though, many Roman Emperors and members of the upper class wore beards, so there are third and especially fourth century Icons that portray Christ and the Apostles as wearing beards. This became the norm on everything from ivory carvings to mosaics in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries. However, these portrayals usually show a short beard, much like what one sees in current Icons of St. John Chrysostom."

Pensateomnia,


 I read that the tradition of the Icon in where Jesus has a beard came from the Syrian tradition.

The Syrian influence on Iconography:

Quote:
Quote
"The eastern provinces of the Roman empire were heirs of the civilizations of Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia. The link between early Christian portrait icons and Egyptian funerary portraits is evident. but it is the Syrian physical type which eventually became established in Christian iconography for the portrait of Christ, a bearded figure with full dark hair falling over his forehead, large almond eyes, straight nose and small lips. The reign of the Roman Emperor Justinian (527-65) marks a turning point in art. His support of the arts was part of his mission to civilize, Christianize and unify God's terrestrial Kingdom, of which he was the viceroy. In his capital emerged a synthesis of classical, late antique and hieratic eastern stylistic elements. Justinian's Divine Wisdom (523-7) expresses the world view of imperial Christianity. In the Sixth century all the essential elements of a truly Christian stylistic system had already been forged and synthesized. Iconography entered a new phase when canon 82 of the quinisext council (692) prohibited symbolic images of Christ, prescribing portrayal of Christ in his human form so that "we comprehend thereby the humility of God the Word, and are guided to the recollection of his way of life in the flesh'. Although Byzantine ICONOCLASM in the eighth and ninth centuries challenged the valisity of the portrayal of Christ and of the cult of icons, the 'Triumph of Orthodoxy' in 843 promoted a creative synthesis of theology and religious art that was of great significance for the subsequent history of European art." [1]










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[1] page 244 from the book "the Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity" edited by Ken Parry, David J. Melling, Dimitri Brady, Sidney H. Griffith, and John F. Healey. Blackwell @ 1999,2001
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2009, 11:45:20 AM »
I think it's a matter of personal preference. Among the Antiochian priests I know about half of them have beard, half do not. Personally I think beards are more appropriate than clean-shaven for Orthodox clergy. Everyone looks better with a beard. :p
But isn't that just a personal opinion?  How do you justify using a word such as "appropriate", which means adherence to an objective outside standard, with your statement of opinion that "everyone looks better with a beard."?
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2009, 11:49:26 AM »
It goes way way back to the pr-nicene days:

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



Every time I see this particular quote, I can't help but think that, if this is true, then God did not create the men of North American Indian peoples, the vast majority of whom cannot grow a beard (those that can now usually have European ancestry), or, at the very least, they're all hermaphrodites of some sort.

OF COURSE, I'm being facetious in those statements.


I'm sure there were exceptions to the rule. Clement made an exception for the hair on top of the head for those with curly hair. So why not for Native Americans and others as well?





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Re: Beards?
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2009, 11:53:46 AM »
It goes way way back to the pr-nicene days:

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



Every time I see this particular quote, I can't help but think that, if this is true, then God did not create the men of North American Indian peoples, the vast majority of whom cannot grow a beard (those that can now usually have European ancestry), or, at the very least, they're all hermaphrodites of some sort.

OF COURSE, I'm being facetious in those statements.


I'm sure there were exceptions to the rule. Clement made an exception for the hair on top of the head for those with curly hair. So why not for Native Americans and others as well?


ICXC NIKA

Of course, but that just shows that there ARE exceptions.  Most of the time, the most vehement supporters of things like beards forget that the same Fathers they quote also excepted people from other canons they crafted. :)
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Offline Feanor

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2009, 01:18:09 PM »

But isn't that just a personal opinion?  How do you justify using a word such as "appropriate", which means adherence to an objective outside standard, with your statement of opinion that "everyone looks better with a beard."?
[/quote]

It's only appropriate according to my personal opinion. I think it's a subjective issue, and I respect that people have different opinions on the matter. I think God judges the heart, not the chin, so it doesn't really matter.

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2009, 01:59:29 PM »
I read that the tradition of the Icon in where Jesus has a beard came from the Syrian tradition.

I don't know a lot about portraiture in late antique Egypt & Syria. However, I do know that one of the very earliest images of Christ comes from Dura Europos in Syria. Dated to the 230s and depicting the healing of the paralytic, it portrays Christ without a beard. Also, there are bearded Christ's in the West that don't exhibit any of the formal conventions relating to eyes, nose and lips mentioned in that Blackwell entry. Consider the famous mosaic in Santa Pudenziana in Rome (c. 390):

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2009, 07:10:25 PM »
Thanks everyone for all the excellent answers. :) Keep them coming.

Selam
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2009, 07:17:59 PM »
All the icons I see of Christ have him with a beard.  Enough said!  ;)

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2009, 08:46:39 PM »
All the icons I see of Christ have him with a beard.  Enough said!  ;)

So I should dress like Him, too? ::) What do you suggest I do with the "natural silver highlights" that my hair is now showing (actually, I should say that I have become blessed in recent years with hair that is naturally silver, with darker undertones ;D ) I've never seen an icon of Christ that has that colour.

There may be convincing arguments for a man to display facial hair, but I really don't think this is one of them.

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2009, 08:56:01 PM »
All the icons I see of Christ have him with a beard.  Enough said!  ;)

At my wedding, because of my beard, some of my new in-laws asked if I was amish or something. That's how "real" and "true" Orthodox do it  :P Yet, in all the icons of Jesus that I've seen, he has a rather short beard. This raises a very serious question: does this mean that Jesus was a modernist and ecumenist? I bet he even had a goatee while in his 20's.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2009, 09:35:01 PM »
At my wedding, because of my beard, some of my new in-laws asked if I was amish or something.

My grandpa was introducing me to people as "Rabbi" at a recent family gathering.  Hoo-ray.

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2009, 12:04:43 AM »


Poor mustachioed guys... nobody ever wants to talk about them.  :(
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 12:04:59 AM by GabrieltheCelt »
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2009, 08:57:05 AM »
^How does he drink? Does he take Communion through a straw?
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2009, 02:42:40 PM »
^How does he drink?
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2009, 02:45:47 PM »
^ :laugh:
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2009, 06:01:10 PM »
It goes way way back to the pr-nicene days:

"This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature......It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.


"It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man's natural and noble adornment." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"The beard must not be plucked. "You will not deface the figure of your beard"[Lev 19:32] Cyprian 250 A.D.

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


"Let the head of men be clipped, unless they have curly hair. But let the chin have the hair. ....Cutting is to be used, not for the sake of elegance, but on account of the necessity of the case.....so that it may not grow so long as to come down and interfere with the eyes." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

So the tradition of christians having beards goes way way way way back.

ICXC NIKA

Good research.  These canons refer to plucking or ripping out the beard, which was a Roman practice amongst men who wanted to appear young for the sake of certain immoral practices.  After all, a beard was indicative of adulthood and thus an end to youthful 'transgressions.'  The Romans were a tough lot, and practice the plucking of armpit hair in the baths was common (somewhere I have a very entertaining quote from a Roman writer describing the cries of people in the baths getting their 'plucking').

In addition, the canons also forbid clergy from bathing, mostly because of the immorality of Imperial baths.  It would be in a bathhouse that one would find a 'barber' (from barba literally, one who cuts the beard).  The canons are trying to help clergy both avoid and avoid the appearance of sin.

Let's not forget that an iron or bronze razor was a luxury item.  They were difficult to sharpen to be effective.  Most Romans relied on a barber to take care of the problem for a fee, and so the poor were left scraggly and unwashed.

I believe the advent of the long hair and beard came with the later oppression of the Church, where only the poorest of monks survived the post-Byzantine persecutions.  And, as many things do, the practice caught on in the larger Church community.  Of course, Islam had rules regarding the beard, and so it fit quite well.  As for the long hair, I'm sure the moslems also encouraged the practice because it set Orthodox clergy apart, just like the black cassock and kalymavki.

Frankly, I think that it is a good practice.  I had long hair before I converted, but I grew it back now because of a skin condition.  The one thing I will say is that it is something you can take off, unlike either a cassock or a collar.  For me, it is a constant reminder that I have been set apart and I have lost my 'freedom' to do what I please so long as others (particularly those from my parish!) are not watching.



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Re: Beards?
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2009, 06:16:41 PM »
Poor mustachioed guys... nobody ever wants to talk about them.  :(

Hey, it's not impossible. Look at Jamie Hyneman, he's a geek celebrity and has an overgrown 'stach

« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 06:17:03 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2009, 07:00:54 PM »
I remember a Russian Priest telling me: "We are taught and believe that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Seeking to alter that image and likeness - by removing the beard, for example - seems, therefore, blasphemous."
Was he referring to clergy only?
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 07:01:22 PM by ChristusDominus »
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2009, 08:20:30 PM »
I remember a Russian Priest telling me: "We are taught and believe that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Seeking to alter that image and likeness - by removing the beard, for example - seems, therefore, blasphemous."
Was he referring to clergy only?

While the Church Fathers do not specifically and with finality define what "the image of God" means, when they do speak of it they link it with things like man's ability to think. To claim that it has something to do with beards is... I'm trying to not be offensive here... downright silly.

Offline coptickev

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2009, 10:41:24 PM »
There are only two kinds of people that don't have beards, women and children!  ;D

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2009, 11:02:36 PM »
And Native Americans / First Peoples / whatever you want to call them.  ;D
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2009, 11:25:02 PM »
^^Don't forget most Asians...  :)
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Re: Beards?
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2009, 11:33:27 PM »
^^Don't forget most Asians...  :)

Alot of Asians had beards in the kung fu movies I saw.








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Re: Beards?
« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2009, 11:41:52 PM »
I remember a Russian Priest telling me: "We are taught and believe that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Seeking to alter that image and likeness - by removing the beard, for example - seems, therefore, blasphemous."
Was he referring to clergy only?

While the Church Fathers do not specifically and with finality define what "the image of God" means, when they do speak of it they link it with things like man's ability to think. To claim that it has something to do with beards is... I'm trying to not be offensive here... downright silly.

You are mixing two different concepts together....in this regard and in this context, the idea that the image of God is only our spirit and not the composit of body & soul is gnostic.

When we were made in God's image....we were made in God's image as a whole composit.

Was God telling spirits to be fruitfull and multiply or was he telling composit beings be fruitfull and multiply?

Genesis 1:26-30
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.











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« Last Edit: December 06, 2009, 11:43:53 PM by jnorm888 »
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2009, 11:45:08 PM »
Quote
You are mixing two different concepts together

No.

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2009, 11:47:50 PM »
It goes way way back to the pr-nicene days:

"This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature......It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.


"It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man's natural and noble adornment." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

"The beard must not be plucked. "You will not deface the figure of your beard"[Lev 19:32] Cyprian 250 A.D.

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


"Let the head of men be clipped, unless they have curly hair. But let the chin have the hair. ....Cutting is to be used, not for the sake of elegance, but on account of the necessity of the case.....so that it may not grow so long as to come down and interfere with the eyes." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

So the tradition of christians having beards goes way way way way back.

ICXC NIKA

Good research.  These canons refer to plucking or ripping out the beard, which was a Roman practice amongst men who wanted to appear young for the sake of certain immoral practices.  After all, a beard was indicative of adulthood and thus an end to youthful 'transgressions.'  The Romans were a tough lot, and practice the plucking of armpit hair in the baths was common (somewhere I have a very entertaining quote from a Roman writer describing the cries of people in the baths getting their 'plucking').

In addition, the canons also forbid clergy from bathing, mostly because of the immorality of Imperial baths.  It would be in a bathhouse that one would find a 'barber' (from barba literally, one who cuts the beard).  The canons are trying to help clergy both avoid and avoid the appearance of sin.

Let's not forget that an iron or bronze razor was a luxury item.  They were difficult to sharpen to be effective.  Most Romans relied on a barber to take care of the problem for a fee, and so the poor were left scraggly and unwashed.

I believe the advent of the long hair and beard came with the later oppression of the Church, where only the poorest of monks survived the post-Byzantine persecutions.  And, as many things do, the practice caught on in the larger Church community.  Of course, Islam had rules regarding the beard, and so it fit quite well.  As for the long hair, I'm sure the moslems also encouraged the practice because it set Orthodox clergy apart, just like the black cassock and kalymavki.

Frankly, I think that it is a good practice.  I had long hair before I converted, but I grew it back now because of a skin condition.  The one thing I will say is that it is something you can take off, unlike either a cassock or a collar.  For me, it is a constant reminder that I have been set apart and I have lost my 'freedom' to do what I please so long as others (particularly those from my parish!) are not watching.






Thank you Father for sharing your thoughts!







ICXC NIKA
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2009, 11:49:40 PM »
Quote
You are mixing two different concepts together

No.

Yes, for we are not talking about the faculty of reason and the human will in general, but the human body itself. A number of gnostics didn't really care about their bodies and what they did with it for they saw their true selves as being their "spirit". The body was seen as a prison to them, and so in this context the body as well as the spirit as a composit whole is seen as being made in God's image.

And this is why I said you were mixing two different issues together. We are not talking about the issue of "free will" in where being made in God's image is in regards to the faculty of reason, the will......etc. We are talking about beards, and thus the issue of the human body in general......and so, in this context, being made in God's image is about the human body as a composit whole........and not just our spirit/soul only.

And so beards do matter because they are part of our body.



A gnostic would say:
"Asteriktos is taking his body for a walk"


An Orthodox Christian would say:
"Asteriktos is going for a walk"






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« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 12:05:31 AM by jnorm888 »
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Beards?
« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2009, 12:02:48 AM »
I read that the tradition of the Icon in where Jesus has a beard came from the Syrian tradition.

I don't know a lot about portraiture in late antique Egypt & Syria. However, I do know that one of the very earliest images of Christ comes from Dura Europos in Syria. Dated to the 230s and depicting the healing of the paralytic, it portrays Christ without a beard. Also, there are bearded Christ's in the West that don't exhibit any of the formal conventions relating to eyes, nose and lips mentioned in that Blackwell entry. Consider the famous mosaic in Santa Pudenziana in Rome (c. 390):



Thanks for this information.







ICXC NIKA
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/