Poll

Is it proper for an Orthodox Christian to get a tattoo?

It's fine, nothing wrong with it.
38 (23.6%)
They can if they want, but I wouldn't.
26 (16.1%)
Only in some circumstances.
18 (11.2%)
I don't think it's proper, no.
33 (20.5%)
It is absolutely, positively sinful!
11 (6.8%)
I'm not sure.
32 (19.9%)
None of the above.
3 (1.9%)

Total Members Voted: 161

Author Topic: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos  (Read 56249 times)

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Offline ChristusDominus

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Offline Pravoslav

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Tattoo's and the Orthodox Faith
« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2010, 08:54:14 PM »
This is something I have been debating for some time, I would like to get a couple of Religious themed tattoo's. I have talked to Priest, Bishops and Monks and all differ in some aspect or another. Does anyone on these boards have any info? I have seen a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum board and hope to get some good answers.
1.I have been told, that my body is not mine therefore I need to respect it. (compared it to spray painting graffiti on a Church)
2.I have been told, you already wear a cross that is sufficient.
3.I have been told, I would not make it to Heaven if I did.
Can someone give me their take on it?
Thank you in advance
"This is the Faith of the Apostles! This is the Faith of the Fathers! This is the Orthodox Faith! This Faith has established the universe!"

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #47 on: February 01, 2010, 10:24:45 PM »
^ I often wonder if part of the problem is a surviving prejudice, the ancient Graeco-Roman stigma (pardon the pun) of tattooes being a: the practice of Barbarians and b: something that indicated that one was a slave; a person of no worth or status. ISTM, more a case of social exclusion stubbornly persisting than a genuine impediment to heaven.  
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 10:33:53 PM by Riddikulus »
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Offline Melodist

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #48 on: February 01, 2010, 10:38:51 PM »
I've heard of monks on Mt Athos giving pilgrims the opportunity to receive a tattoo of the cross.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #49 on: February 01, 2010, 11:17:06 PM »
I've heard of monks on Mt Athos giving pilgrims the opportunity to receive a tattoo of the cross.
Where would they put this tattoo of the cross?
There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials. - Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Offline Melodist

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #50 on: February 01, 2010, 11:26:29 PM »
I've heard of monks on Mt Athos giving pilgrims the opportunity to receive a tattoo of the cross.
Where would they put this tattoo of the cross?

I heard it was a small one usually done somewhere on the hand.

I've also heard of times in history when Christians have had "I worship Jesus Christ" tattooed on their wrist, and also of Ethiopians tattooing crosses on their forehead.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #51 on: February 01, 2010, 11:37:32 PM »
I've heard of monks on Mt Athos giving pilgrims the opportunity to receive a tattoo of the cross.

That's sort of... er... I take it they don't have autoclaves there on Mount Athos. You see where I'm going with this?  :angel:

Offline Melodist

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #52 on: February 01, 2010, 11:57:54 PM »
I've heard of monks on Mt Athos giving pilgrims the opportunity to receive a tattoo of the cross.

That's sort of... er... I take it they don't have autoclaves there on Mount Athos. You see where I'm going with this?  :angel:

It's just what I've heard. I'm sure they would have some way of keeping things clean and sanitary if they do give tattoos.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #53 on: February 02, 2010, 12:35:29 AM »
I just realized what a hypocrite I am. I have at least three tattoos on my body, but, you know, "out of sight-out of mind". I have no idea what they look like either.
They are on your body yet you don't know what they look like? ::)
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #54 on: February 02, 2010, 12:38:39 AM »
I just realized what a hypocrite I am. I have at least three tattoos on my body, but, you know, "out of sight-out of mind". I have no idea what they look like either.
They are on your body yet you don't know what they look like? ::)

My feet are a part of my body, but I haven't seen them in years and years, and I couldn't tell you what they look like. My protective padding covering my abs of steel get in the way, ya know?  :P

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #55 on: February 02, 2010, 12:39:03 AM »
I have a few that I got long ago. I'll share this one, hope it isn't too blurry or faded. I used my cell phone to capture the image.

« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 12:42:49 AM by ChristusDominus »
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #56 on: February 02, 2010, 01:19:31 AM »
It's just what I've heard. I'm sure they would have some way of keeping things clean and sanitary if they do give tattoos.

Nobody gives any stupid tattoos on Mt Athos.  A friend of mine got an icon of Christ tattooed on his arm and a monk from Athos about ripped his arm off over it.

There is a practice by the laity in Oriental Orthodoxy, particularly in the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches, where some get small crosses tattooed on their hand or forehead.  This is a reminder of a time period when Christians who wouldn't convert to Islam were branded with crosses by the government.  This practice today is often seen as a permanent statement, meaning that the Christians there have no intention of converting.  Many of them feel that it gives them a stronger connection with their ancestors, who were stronger than the rest of the populace because they refused to abandon Christ for the lies of a false prophet.

But this custom is in no way officially encouraged or sanctioned by the Oriental Churches, it just happens, and probably without much condemnation.  But this custom is not a part of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, nor has it ever been as far as I can tell.  The idea of getting a fashionable tattoo of Christ or His Mother for vanity is not a part of our traditions.

1.I have been told, that my body is not mine therefore I need to respect it. (compared it to spray painting graffiti on a Church)
2.I have been told, you already wear a cross that is sufficient.
3.I have been told, I would not make it to Heaven if I did.

So none of the advice you received from anyone regarding tattoos was in the affirmative, so you've come to this forum seeking affirmation when you couldn't get it from your bishop, priest, or spiritual father?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 01:22:23 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline augustin717

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #57 on: February 02, 2010, 01:34:49 AM »
I think the clergy should have no business in giving any strong answer to this matter. I also think that laity should not ask their opinion either. It's just not their job and, I think, asking a clergyman about getting a tattoo or any other trifle like this only betrays a very clericalist mindset and expectations.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #58 on: February 02, 2010, 02:04:56 AM »
...asking a clergyman about getting a tattoo or any other trifle like this only betrays a very clericalist mindset and expectations.

Well, some of us don't differentiate advise into spiritual and secular categories.  Every aspect of our lives need to be in submission to God, and often some need more advise than others.  Some think they know enough to where they don't really need any advice from a priest.

I will agree with you, though, that it is not the job of a priest to micromanage our lives.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #59 on: February 02, 2010, 02:45:06 AM »
99% of the Orthodox folks I've known-in a very culturally Orthodox environment-would never bother their clergy with this sort of questions, not even with weightier "spiritual" questions.
A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle. Neither is our faith regulated in every minor aspect.


Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #60 on: February 02, 2010, 04:03:32 AM »
99% of the Orthodox folks I've known-in a very culturally Orthodox environment-would never bother their clergy with this sort of questions, not even with weightier "spiritual" questions.
A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle. Neither is our faith regulated in every minor aspect.

Yes, you've flashed your True Orthodox credentials on numerous occasions already, so I'm well aware of them.  It's nice to know how Orthodox piety manifests itself in one cultural setting gets to set the standard for everywhere else.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #61 on: February 02, 2010, 04:12:11 AM »
You get so defensive when someone merely implies that orthodoxy has been around in some places longer than in others. It's funny.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #62 on: February 02, 2010, 04:23:42 AM »
You get so defensive when someone merely implies that orthodoxy has been around in some places longer than in others. It's funny.

Well I'm glad to provide you with such amusement. There have been numerous other times on the forum where you've been quick to bring up the way it is the real Orthodox old-world.  Sometimes these reflections are helpful, but usually you're just taking a passive stab at overzealous neophytes.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #63 on: February 02, 2010, 04:27:26 AM »
How should one deal with "overzealous neophyts"?
I think you read too much in what I ramble here.

Offline Pravoslav

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #64 on: February 02, 2010, 09:40:53 AM »
It is easy to sit hear and lay judgment on people, I simply asked a question. I have no tattoo's but was considering getting a religious one. I have seen a Priest with a tattoo of a cross on the top of his hand. The reason I asked several people who I hold highly in my personal life is because I value their opinions. The reason I ask on here is just to get an over all picture of what other Orthodox brothers and sisters think about our Faith and that of tattoo's.
As for the person who said they shouldn't be bothered which such questions is rather silly, I feel bad for you if you can not approach your Priest in such manner. You quoted "A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle". Now if I were like you I would reply with "Maybe being Orthodox you should already now the customs and or rituals involved in a Baptism or buriel" ;)
In my life my Spiritual Father is everything, what he says I hold highly. Hence the reason for no tattoo's, just wanted to see what others thought, and all I see is ignorance and self righteousness, it is no wonder we are held back and split into so many different jurisdictions. Calling people "enthusiastic beginners" is very Christian of you. Maybe I was wrong about this forum...
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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #65 on: February 02, 2010, 05:43:50 PM »
It is easy to sit hear and lay judgment on people, I simply asked a question. I have no tattoo's but was considering getting a religious one. I have seen a Priest with a tattoo of a cross on the top of his hand. The reason I asked several people who I hold highly in my personal life is because I value their opinions. The reason I ask on here is just to get an over all picture of what other Orthodox brothers and sisters think about our Faith and that of tattoo's.
As for the person who said they shouldn't be bothered which such questions is rather silly, I feel bad for you if you can not approach your Priest in such manner. You quoted "A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle". Now if I were like you I would reply with "Maybe being Orthodox you should already now the customs and or rituals involved in a Baptism or buriel" ;)
In my life my Spiritual Father is everything, what he says I hold highly. Hence the reason for no tattoo's, just wanted to see what others thought, and all I see is ignorance and self righteousness, it is no wonder we are held back and split into so many different jurisdictions. Calling people "enthusiastic beginners" is very Christian of you. Maybe I was wrong about this forum...
I think that asking your priest would be the best advice. Who cares what others say? This is between you, your spiritual confessor and God. Many people are just going to say that you'll be guilty of vanity. You don't need to do something drastic like getting a tattoo to be guilty of that.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 05:49:19 PM by ChristusDominus »
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Offline Rosehip

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #66 on: February 02, 2010, 06:01:34 PM »
I just realized what a hypocrite I am. I have at least three tattoos on my body, but, you know, "out of sight-out of mind". I have no idea what they look like either.
They are on your body yet you don't know what they look like? ::)

Yes. I was tattooed in three places at the back in order to help direct radium into my body.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 06:01:51 PM by Rosehip »
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Offline Rosehip

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #67 on: February 02, 2010, 06:27:29 PM »
99% of the Orthodox folks I've known-in a very culturally Orthodox environment-would never bother their clergy with this sort of questions, not even with weightier "spiritual" questions.
A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle. Neither is our faith regulated in every minor aspect.



Included in that 99% could be many very nominal types-at least if Romania is anything like my experience in Ukraine.

And I as a convert rarely trouble my priests about anything (I learned the hard way). However, many of my, how to say?, revert friends from Orthodox countries call up their priest numerous times a day to ask various questions. I've even visited one when they were baking something and before they put it in the oven, they called the priest for his blessing as they held the batter under the receiver. Sigh. Something I would never think of doing in a million years.
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #68 on: February 02, 2010, 06:35:44 PM »
It is easy to sit hear and lay judgment on people, I simply asked a question. I have no tattoo's but was considering getting a religious one. I have seen a Priest with a tattoo of a cross on the top of his hand. The reason I asked several people who I hold highly in my personal life is because I value their opinions. The reason I ask on here is just to get an over all picture of what other Orthodox brothers and sisters think about our Faith and that of tattoo's.
As for the person who said they shouldn't be bothered which such questions is rather silly, I feel bad for you if you can not approach your Priest in such manner. You quoted "A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle". Now if I were like you I would reply with "Maybe being Orthodox you should already now the customs and or rituals involved in a Baptism or buriel" ;)
In my life my Spiritual Father is everything, what he says I hold highly. Hence the reason for no tattoo's, just wanted to see what others thought, and all I see is ignorance and self righteousness, it is no wonder we are held back and split into so many different jurisdictions. Calling people "enthusiastic beginners" is very Christian of you. Maybe I was wrong about this forum...

Perhaps you should be careful of sitting here and laying judgement on people.  ;) As you had already run this question past your Spiritual Father, someone you hold in high esteem, anyone who was going to give opposing advice was being set up to come off as an adversary. If the responses to your question have offended you, it is because you invited honest responses, perhaps unwittingly pitting some of those responses against the advice of your Spiritual Father. That being the case, it is quite natural that the opinions of some of the forum members have not measured up to your expectations. ISTM, that if you are going to be offended by the responses you get, especially already having advice from someone who opinions you admire, it might pay not to ask in the first place. IMO, it's really not fair to use the posters here in such a way.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 06:42:22 PM by Riddikulus »
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Offline Pravoslav

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #69 on: February 02, 2010, 08:19:45 PM »
Listen I am not nearly as rightous as half the people on here "pretend" to be, but I love my Faith and try very hard to live a pious life. I have the hardest job in the world, being an Orthodox Chrisitan. It is a 24/7 job, nothing in the world is more demanding, but I love it. i love learning and meeting people of the same Faith and values.
As for setting people up, that's not the case at all. Seems you have been on here longer than me, and you do not see how people on here talk to each other? I am not setting anybody up, just wanted to see what others thought.We all have minds and mouths, thus can make statements. I would never pit anyone against anyone, the thing I see on this board is a lot of separation instead of love and unity.  What do you mean "it is not fair to use posters in such a way"? This is a forum is it not, to ask questions and to read responses and to meet new people. I am not looking to argue with anyone, I can fully guarantee you that. I see a lot of people taking shots at each others ethnicities, I don't get it. We all have a common bond, our Faith and that to me is more important than my ethnicity. Also is this forum open to all Religions or just the Orthodox Faith?
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Offline Pravoslav

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #70 on: February 02, 2010, 08:26:04 PM »
Nice comment ChristusDominus. Rosehip I do not call my Priest on a daily basis, but when I do go to Church or to Bible class I do engage in conversation (it isn't always about Faith). If people are calling him to get their baked goods blesssed that is just wrong, they are busy enough without us weighing them down.
 They are humans just like us, if your Priest tells you different that he is something that should be held looked upon above all or never looked at or talked to then I feel sorry for you. My Priest is a wonderful man who I can go to with anything. Do I fear his responses some times, of course but I am never afraid to say what I need to say. What would life be living it quietly?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #71 on: February 02, 2010, 08:30:47 PM »
What would life be living it quietly?
Hesychasm. :)
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #72 on: February 02, 2010, 08:32:29 PM »
Quote
Also is this forum open to all Religions or just the Orthodox Faith?

If you are asking whether non-Orthodox can participate here, then the answer is yes.

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #73 on: February 02, 2010, 08:37:48 PM »
Listen I am not nearly as rightous as half the people on here "pretend" to be, but I love my Faith and try very hard to live a pious life. I have the hardest job in the world, being an Orthodox Chrisitan. It is a 24/7 job, nothing in the world is more demanding, but I love it. i love learning and meeting people of the same Faith and values.
As for setting people up, that's not the case at all. Seems you have been on here longer than me, and you do not see how people on here talk to each other?

Oh, I see it, but I tend to take it with a grain of salt. Afterall, we are all sinners on this forum; all bound to fail in one way or another. Loving each other in spite of that is the aim of the Orthodox Christian.

Quote
I am not setting anybody up, just wanted to see what others thought.

But when they disagreed with what your Spiritual Father said, you got defensive.

Quote
We all have minds and mouths, thus can make statements. I would never pit anyone against anyone, the thing I see on this board is a lot of separation instead of love and unity. 

What you see is people with a diversity of opinions, which you can either accept graciously or condemn as lack of love and unity.

Quote
What do you mean "it is not fair to use posters in such a way"? This is a forum is it not, to ask questions and to read responses and to meet new people.

ISTM, that you already had a formed opinion when you asked the question; that of your Spiritual Father, who you rightly hold in high esteem. You must have known when asking the question that there was a likelihood that people on the thread might not agree. You only had to look at the way the voting had fallen to see that.

Quote
I am not looking to argue with anyone, I can fully guarantee you that. I see a lot of people taking shots at each others ethnicities, I don't get it. We all have a common bond, our Faith and that to me is more important than my ethnicity. Also is this forum open to all Religions or just the Orthodox Faith?

As brothers and sisters it seems natural that we are going to have banter even argument, sometimes quite heated. We are a family. Some people on here communicate through sarcasm, some with irony, some with manipulative tactics; we have all sorts. Most of those who have responded on this thread are Orthodox Christians; each of us with differing spiritual illnesses. Of course, there is going to be people taking shots. That's human nature and we love each other in spite of it, I hope. :) And yes, the forum is open to all religions.
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Offline Rosehip

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #74 on: February 02, 2010, 08:46:14 PM »
Nice comment ChristusDominus. Rosehip I do not call my Priest on a daily basis, but when I do go to Church or to Bible class I do engage in conversation (it isn't always about Faith). If people are calling him to get their baked goods blesssed that is just wrong, they are busy enough without us weighing them down.
 They are humans just like us, if your Priest tells you different that he is something that should be held looked upon above all or never looked at or talked to then I feel sorry for you. My Priest is a wonderful man who I can go to with anything. Do I fear his responses some times, of course but I am never afraid to say what I need to say. What would life be living it quietly?

Pravoslav, I was just trying to point out that it's not always the North American converts who are full of questions and wanting to know details and do everything correctly, etc. Even folks born in Orthodox countries have been known to do the same-it's neither right nor wrong and each person is different in how he/she approaches spiritual matters. I wasn't implicating you in any way-in fact the post was directed elsewhere and wasn't even meant to be critical of the parties to whom it was actually directed. I was merely making a statement based on observation and experience.
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #75 on: February 03, 2010, 12:28:03 AM »
I just realized what a hypocrite I am. I have at least three tattoos on my body, but, you know, "out of sight-out of mind". I have no idea what they look like either.
They are on your body yet you don't know what they look like? ::)

Yes. I was tattooed in three places at the back in order to help direct radium into my body.
O.K. thank you for sharing, young lady.  :)
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Offline Eugenio

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #76 on: February 03, 2010, 01:27:23 AM »
I just found a really cool book on the subject. It's got pages and pages of Coptic tattoo designs that I believe are used by pilgrims in Egypt. Here's the book info:

"Coptic Tattoo Designs" by John Carswell.
Published by the American University of Beirut, 2nd ed. 1958

I've never gotten a tattoo before. I'm tempted to get one of these. However, being that I'm fairly unfamiliar with Coptic Christianity and its symbology, I probably won't until I consult a Coptic Christian and see if there is any meaning to this iconography that I'm unaware of.

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #77 on: February 03, 2010, 01:38:41 AM »
I don't know how true this is, but I was told that one couldn't be a priest if one had a tattoo? Any truth in this?
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Offline xuxana

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #78 on: March 15, 2010, 02:55:59 PM »
i have small ones on both my right & left ankle but people never comment or notice it in my parish. i'm thinking of having it removed but laser tat removal is way too expensive. i'd rather use that money for other, more important things like food, rent, or charity.
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Offline Lauren_Elisse

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #79 on: March 20, 2010, 02:35:41 AM »
I wouldn't get the tattoo to show it off or anything, I think it would be a more personal thing, I'm getting the Matthew 20:28 I am with you always even unto the end of the world , quote, even now when I feel the saddest, even the thought of this quote and feeling Christ near me makes me feel very overwhelmed, It should be useful if I ever get alziehmers when I'm older and can't remember it hahaha
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Offline Nazarene

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #80 on: March 20, 2010, 10:28:26 AM »
Tattoos are definitely forbidden in Judaism based on this verse:

An incision for a (dead) person you are not to make in your flesh;
Writing of skin-etching you are not to place on yourselves;
I am YHWH! (Leviticus 19:28, The Five Books of Moses, Dr. Everett Fox)

And you shall not make cuttings in your body for a [dead] body, and you shall not inscribe on yourselves any marks. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:28, LXX)

Nor make a cutting for the dead in thy flesh; nor imprint signatures upon you: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:28, Targum Onkelos)

Perhaps there are some Patristic quotes on this verse?

Offline BoredMeeting

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #81 on: March 20, 2010, 01:25:21 PM »
99% of the Orthodox folks I've known-in a very culturally Orthodox environment-would never bother their clergy with this sort of questions, not even with weightier "spiritual" questions.
Fortunately for me, the Orthodox priests that I've know welcome questions from their spiritual children, regardless of their 'weight'.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #82 on: April 22, 2010, 02:38:26 AM »
I have a few that I got long ago. I'll share this one, hope it isn't too blurry or faded. I used my cell phone to capture the image.



I really like this!  :)

Offline RoryChristopher

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #83 on: May 16, 2010, 06:25:37 AM »
I have not heard anyone bring up the whole concept of an icon tattoo as an icon.

According to the 7Th council, we should not put icons in a lavatory or any place profaned. Well, that's exactly what's going on every time you walk it with an icon of the Theotokos or anyone else. You are there, peeing and pooping, keeping them with you; an act of piety that would make any iconoclast proud. Or Muslim or Talmudist for that matter.

“We must treat the things of God as they are worthy of God,” someone once told me. I completely agree and as one who has a difficult enough time wearing a crucifix in the bedroom (if you know what I mean) I can't relate to the certainty that this is an OK practice.
Holy icons go where we can pray to them, burn incense before them, and venerate them; they are not pop art, decor, or fashion. The whole idea of using the beauty of the Church, –her gifts to redeem our senses– as vanity just seems absurd and I wonder where from this piety really stems.  I can see why one would get a cross = we wear crosses… However, an icon of Christ or a Saint just seems like “baptized” rebelliousness and at very least a practice ignorant of the wisdom and ruling of the Church and Holy Fathers of the 7Th council who suffered to keep icons as holy parts of the life in the Church.

Can you picture the Theotokos sitting under the needle for 12 hours to get a tattoo of St. Simeon? Or a mural of her Son on her back; she lies there topless as the old biker wipes her holy blood off on a rag? This scenario is not coherent with true Christian practice and certainly not an expression of humility or beauty or piety.

If you can imagine this and you are OK with it... –well– good luck.

From the 7Th Council:

"Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God and of the other Saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be awarded them; not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or that confidence is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by Gentiles, who placed their hope in idols; but because the honour which is shown unto them is referred to the prototypes which they represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ, and venerate the Saints, whose similitude they bear."

"In the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished, finally, all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a wantonness of beauty: nor shall men also pervert the celebration of the saints, and the visitation of relics, into revellings and drunkenness; as if festivals are celebrated to the honour of the saints by luxury and wantonness.  Finally, let so great care and diligence be used by bishops touching these matters, as that there appear nothing disorderly, or unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing profane, nothing indecorous; since holiness becometh the house of God."

I believe misuse or abuse of icons would fit right into that criteria and in my opinion, tattooing icons on one's person is just that.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 06:35:03 AM by RoryChristopher »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #84 on: May 16, 2010, 06:52:47 AM »
I have not heard anyone bring up the whole concept of an icon tattoo as an icon.

According to the 7Th council, we should not put icons in a lavatory or any place profaned. Well, that's exactly what's going on every time you walk it with an icon of the Theotokos or anyone else. You are there, peeing and pooping, keeping them with you; an act of piety that would make any iconoclast proud. Or Muslim or Talmudist for that matter.

“We must treat the things of God as they are worthy of God,” someone once told me. I completely agree and as one who has a difficult enough time wearing a crucifix in the bedroom (if you know what I mean) I can't relate to the certainty that this is an OK practice.
Holy icons go where we can pray to them, burn incense before them, and venerate them; they are not pop art, decor, or fashion. The whole idea of using the beauty of the Church, –her gifts to redeem our senses– as vanity just seems absurd and I wonder where from this piety really stems.  I can see why one would get a cross = we wear crosses… However, an icon of Christ or a Saint just seems like “baptized” rebelliousness and at very least a practice ignorant of the wisdom and ruling of the Church and Holy Fathers of the 7Th council who suffered to keep icons as holy parts of the life in the Church.

Can you picture the Theotokos sitting under the needle for 12 hours to get a tattoo of St. Simeon? Or a mural of her Son on her back; she lies there topless as the old biker wipes her holy blood off on a rag? This scenario is not coherent with true Christian practice and certainly not an expression of humility or beauty or piety.

If you can imagine this and you are OK with it... –well– good luck.

From the 7Th Council:

"Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God and of the other Saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be awarded them; not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or that confidence is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by Gentiles, who placed their hope in idols; but because the honour which is shown unto them is referred to the prototypes which they represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ, and venerate the Saints, whose similitude they bear."

"In the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished, finally, all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a wantonness of beauty: nor shall men also pervert the celebration of the saints, and the visitation of relics, into revellings and drunkenness; as if festivals are celebrated to the honour of the saints by luxury and wantonness.  Finally, let so great care and diligence be used by bishops touching these matters, as that there appear nothing disorderly, or unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing profane, nothing indecorous; since holiness becometh the house of God."

I believe misuse or abuse of icons would fit right into that criteria and in my opinion, tattooing icons on one's person is just that.

I don't recall in Greece the hooks at the bathroom door on which to hang your baptismal cross before "peeing and pooping."

You are worried about the bedroom: do you sleep in a marital bed?  If not, you have more serious problems.

And you're the one imagining the Theotokos topless.
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #85 on: May 16, 2010, 10:07:30 AM »
Welcome to the forum RoryChristopher!
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #86 on: May 16, 2010, 02:06:00 PM »
99% of the Orthodox folks I've known-in a very culturally Orthodox environment-would never bother their clergy with this sort of questions, not even with weightier "spiritual" questions.
A priest is good to go to confess to, ask him for various religious services such as baptisms and burials-but he is not an oracle. Neither is our faith regulated in every minor aspect.



 This seems to be a very prevalent attitude in Romanians that I have known over the years.  And not to pick on Romanians, I have heard Greeks say something similar as well.  But in my limited exposure, "convert" mind, I seem to recall that our spiritual fathers are, far from being oracles, to help us navigate through life's trials, tribulations and even celebrations.  Sure there are questions one wouldn't want to pester your priest with, such as what to have for supper and the like, but if something is troubling you, or you're simply curious about the Ekklesia's view on a subject, why not ask one's priest/spiritual father?
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #87 on: May 16, 2010, 02:07:11 PM »
Welcome to the forum, RoryChristopher!  :)
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Offline RoryChristopher

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #88 on: May 16, 2010, 03:02:03 PM »

I don't recall in Greece the hooks at the bathroom door on which to hang your baptismal cross before "peeing and pooping."

You are worried about the bedroom: do you sleep in a marital bed?  If not, you have more serious problems.

And you're the one imagining the Theotokos topless.

The whole conceptual image I tried to portray should have been appauling.
No hooks, you're right... it's a necessities thing. But your comment did not address any of the real issues I posted; rather, you just accused me of a couple things. That's called mud slinging; you did that AND you built a strawman at the same time. You're well on your way to being an brick maker.

And FYI the only woman I have been with was my wife and that was after the crowning.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 03:04:39 PM by RoryChristopher »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #89 on: February 04, 2011, 12:39:47 AM »
I'm honestly surprised by the number of negative votes :)