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Author Topic: Vestments Question  (Read 3112 times) Average Rating: 0
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StGeorge
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« on: May 15, 2008, 10:11:11 PM »

Why do OCA priests have humps at the top of their vestments, whereas other Orthodox priests (including ACROD priests) do not?  How did the humps get on the vestment? 
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2008, 10:38:18 PM »

Ever been in Russia in winter?  Wink
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 10:39:01 PM »

Christ is Risen!

The OCA descends from the Russian tradition, so the priests wear the traditional Russian vestments.  My understanding (someone feel free to correct me where I'm wrong) is that the "hump" (I like this term laugh ) is for practical purposes- to protect the head from the cold... same reason for the onion dome-- to help the snow fall from the roof.

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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2008, 11:37:20 PM »

The differences in vestments are merely a small traditions difference.  I've heard about a dozen different legends as to why high back vestments were developed.  All sound like neat stories and it is possible no one knows the real reason or the reason was lost.  Being an OCA priest doesn't necessitate wearing high back vestments, I know OCA priests who don't own even one.  And yes, high back phelons are a Russian small tradition.
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2008, 11:41:02 PM »

What does the "hump" actually consist of in Russian vestments? Is it simply a raised back? How does it stay up?
The snow reason would make sense with onion domes, and I'd never thought of that coming from a Mediterranean background. 
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 12:02:07 AM »

I read somewhere that the raised back was to prevent people from focusing on the person of the priest...if this is true, i do not know...
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 12:24:20 AM »

I read somewhere that the raised back was to prevent people from focusing on the person of the priest...if this is true, i do not know...
I like the "shield against the cold" explanation as the original reason.  Maybe later the vestment feature had some spiritual symbolisms attached to it by the pious.
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 12:29:49 AM »

What does the "hump" actually consist of in Russian vestments? Is it simply a raised back? How does it stay up?
Think of it as a rigid collar raised to about six inches above the base of the neck and shielding the entire back of the priest's neck.

A few examples from the OCA web site www.oca.org:








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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 02:48:16 AM »

The Ukrainians use both styles....
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2008, 03:20:50 AM »

What does the "hump" actually consist of in Russian vestments? Is it simply a raised back? How does it stay up?
The snow reason would make sense with onion domes, and I'd never thought of that coming from a Mediterranean background. 

In my priest's phelon the high back is a thick plastic piece sewed in and these are directly from Russia with love.
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2008, 03:21:11 AM »

The Ukrainians use both styles....

Yes they do.
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 04:15:20 PM »

Is that a priest up there with a shaved head and no beard? Shocked  Is he an army chaplin, or what is the reason for this? First time I've ever seen that. I've never seen a priest without a long beard-never mind with  a shaved head!!!
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2008, 05:09:44 PM »

Is that a priest up there with a shaved head and no beard? Shocked  Is he an army chaplin, or what is the reason for this? First time I've ever seen that. I've never seen a priest without a long beard-never mind with  a shaved head!!!
According to the OCA photo gallery from which I gleaned the photo in question, that photo was taken of Command Chaplain Rev. Eugene Lahue in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Shaved head?  Probably a combination of male pattern baldness and military haircut regulations.  And I do know from personal experience that U.S. military regulations, unlike those of other nations' armed forces, forbid the wearing of a beard.

Regarding beardless priests, the modern proliferation of Orthodox priests who shave themselves clean is, at the least, one of the controversies facing the Church today.
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2008, 06:55:06 PM »

According to the OCA photo gallery from which I gleaned the photo in question, that photo was taken of Command Chaplain Rev. Eugene Lahue in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Shaved head?  Probably a combination of male pattern baldness and military haircut regulations.  And I do know from personal experience that U.S. military regulations, unlike those of other nations' armed forces, forbid the wearing of a beard.

Regarding beardless priests, the modern proliferation of Orthodox priests who shave themselves clean is, at the least, one of the controversies facing the Church today.

It's rather jarring to see bearded laymen  receiving a blessing from a beardless priest!  But if he is a military chapain, hopefully this is the only reason for the beardlessness. It's very sad to imagine that there is a "proliferation" of beardless Orthodox priests. I'm thankful this isn't so in my jurisdiction (even deacons are bearded!). I hope we continue to maintain the old paths.
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2008, 08:35:13 PM »

I've seen beardless priests, as well as ones with short hair.  It doesn't make any difference to me.  Personally, I'm much more concerned with his character than I am with facial hair.  You can have priests who have short hair and no beard who can be very holy, and you can have some with hair halfway down their backs and a long beard who may not be holy at all.  There are priests (mission priests for example) who have to work secular jobs in order to make enough money to support their families, so they can't have really long hair and beards. 
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2008, 08:41:43 PM »

I've seen beardless priests, as well as ones with short hair.  It doesn't make any difference to me.  Personally, I'm much more concerned with his character than I am with facial hair.  You can have priests who have short hair and no beard who can be very holy, and you can have some with hair halfway down their backs and a long beard who may not be holy at all.  There are priests (mission priests for example) who have to work secular jobs in order to make enough money to support their families, so they can't have really long hair and beards. 

I agree that the beard and long hair are merely externals and that what's in the heart is what truly counts, but all the same, the bearded priesthood  is something i've always identified with Eastern Orthodoxy. I know many clergy who have secular jobs (even one deacon who is a lawyer) and they all have beards.
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2008, 11:16:05 PM »

I closed this thread since it was turning into the old beard vs. non-beard discussion. There are other threads for that topic on here so if you wish to continue this discussion then please take it there.

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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2008, 11:50:19 PM »

In keeping with arimethea's advice, here is an excellent place to rehash the old "beard vs. non-beard" discussion:  Beards and Tradition
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