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 56227 times)

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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #90 on: February 04, 2011, 01:12:19 AM »
I'm honestly surprised by the number of negative votes :)

19 negative votes out of 58 isn't exactly a resounding majority.   :)

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #91 on: February 04, 2011, 01:15:32 AM »
I'm honestly surprised by the number of negative votes :)

19 negative votes out of 58 isn't exactly a resounding majority.   :)

True. I suppose I just was focusing on a negative answer having the most votes of all the options.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 01:15:46 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline Seafra

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #92 on: June 09, 2011, 01:05:34 PM »
hahaha well from the responses i read about self mutilation  i will probably be shunned but i grew up an Army brat and was around many pacific islanders from 4-8 yr old. I saw a lot of scarification and decided i wanted to get a cross when i was older. Not for fashion or vanity partially for self mutilation but as a reminder, though nothing in the slightest bit comparable, of the pain Christ endured for me. but as for tattoos i never was interested in them...


However i have been considering the coptic tradition of getting two small cross tattoos on my wrists...

Offline BoredMeeting

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #93 on: June 16, 2011, 05:05:03 PM »
hahaha well from the responses i read about self mutilation  i will probably be shunned...
I've seen quite a few tattooed people in Orthodox Church and never saw any of them being "shunned."

Offline Seafra

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #94 on: June 16, 2011, 05:22:18 PM »
hahaha well from the responses i read about self mutilation  i will probably be shunned...
I've seen quite a few tattooed people in Orthodox Church and never saw any of them being "shunned."

well thats not a "tattoo" its a cutting... through the process of skin removal a design is cut into the skin

Offline Monk Cyprian

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #95 on: June 16, 2011, 06:32:02 PM »
IIRC, there is a canon prohibiting self-mutilation.  My apologies for not being able to reference it off the top of my head (contrary to popular opinion, most monks don't sleep with copies of The Rudder under their pillows).  The trick is:  figuring out what exactly that is.  Is a tattoo mutilation, or enhancement?  That's the entire crux.  If a tattoo is mutilation, then it's out.  If it's not, then it's not prohibited.

Considering how many matushka's have pierced ears, and I wouldn't dare accuse them of mutilating their bodies (especially if you've ever had to deal with a fiesty matushka!), there seems to be some room for interpretation on what is mutilation and what isn't.  And it is a common, historical and (IMO) venerable practice amongst the Coptics and Ethiopians.

That being said, amongst Russians there seems to be an assumption that a tattoo marks one as a member of organized crime (the vor v zakone), or at least seriously anti-social like some sort of skin-head gang, so they tend to be less sympathetic towards it.

There was also some scant evidence that the early Celtic Christians continued the practice of tattooing themselves, just with Christian symbols rather than pagan ones, IIRC.  But, I don't think the scholarship is entirely conclusive about that one.  But that's why they were called "Picts"; because they were the "pictured" men, or men with "pictures" on them.

I'm pleasantly surprised that no one has brought up the Old Testament prohibitions against tattoos.  I always cringe when people do that, to be frank.  It betrays a serious lack of understanding of how the Old Testament laws are fulfilled in Christ and frankly don't apply to Christians.  You can't just "cherry pick" OT laws that you like (usually for other people to follow!).  You either follow all of the Law (and be Jewish BTW), or none of it.  If you want to prohibit tattoos based on Leviticus 19:28, then you also have to have fringes on your clothing, a parapet around your roof, keep kosher, keep the Saturday Sabbath and can't shave the sides of your head, amongst other things.  The Law is an all or nothing kind of thing.  It's either all 613 laws, or none.

Now, I personally think one should probably get the blessing of one's spiritual father before getting a tattoo.  If one already has them, well what's done is done, and unless one is rather wealthy, can't be removed.  But, I wouldn't get anymore (I have two) without my spiritual father's blessing, and they would also have to be deeply symbolic and meaningful, rather than just a "pretty picture".

Just my thoughts though.  Your mileage may vary.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #96 on: October 15, 2011, 12:18:27 PM »
Riyadh forbids tattoos of Christ
Quote
Last year, the Romanian player Mirel Radoi, from the club Al-Hilal (the crescent) kissed the cross tattoo on his arm after scoring a goal. The episode scandalised Muslims.
Go Romania!
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #97 on: October 12, 2012, 02:57:54 AM »
Idea for Western Rite tattoo:

St. Guinefort



« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 02:59:03 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #98 on: October 12, 2012, 02:25:57 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

When I first started attending Ethiopian services, one of my favorite and most delightful experiences was meeting wonderful elderly ladies who were in LA speak "tatted up" :)



Face tattoos, sleeves, hand tattoos, neck tattoos, the works.  In LA unfortunately a lot of folks are getting out of hand, and even in perfectly legitimate careers you find teachers, doctors, civil servants, secretaries, and all kinds of public figures who are tatted up.  Who have sleeves, or neck tattoos, still no face tats outside of jailbirds.  I don't have any ink (I had congo dreads for eight years, that was eclectic enough even for Los Angeles 8) ) but I have literally grown up hanging out with folks in tattoo parlors and getting inked up in people's living rooms.  Tattoos are perfectly normal to me, most of my family have them, and almost all of my friends, and several of my co-workers, and what I lament, many of my underage students ( :( )

The Ethiopian tattoos evolved from several different cultural and political circumstances.  Some folks get them out of purely spiritual and religious motivations, others evolved in the history of slavery and civil wars (the "lip disc" evolved among the Omo people for the same reasons to ward of slave raiders)..  Today it is perfectly acceptable in the Church setting for folks to have a variety of tattoos, for both cultural and spiritual reasons.  I'm not sure if we have any canons specifically forbidding one tattoo design over another, perhaps sister Hiwot can better clarify on this for us.

I would advise for folks who get "Icon" tattoos to think responsibly.  Icons are rightfully kept in revered places, for specific times and settings.  When we put them on our skin, we just might be making our burden too much to carry sometimes, even priests would feel unworthy I imagine of these images on their skin.  On the flip side, for some folks icons on the skin might just keep them out of trouble, but then again, we all sin daily so its a toss up one way or the other..

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 02:28:35 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #99 on: October 12, 2012, 02:36:15 PM »
I would advise for folks who get "Icon" tattoos to think responsibly.  Icons are rightfully kept in revered places, for specific times and settings.  When we put them on our skin, we just might be making our burden too much to carry sometimes, even priests would feel unworthy I imagine of these images on their skin.  On the flip side, for some folks icons on the skin might just keep them out of trouble, but then again, we all sin daily so its a toss up one way or the other.

It's not merely a question of reverence. Icons are devotional objects, and their purpose cannot be served on someone's arms, back, chest, etc.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #100 on: October 12, 2012, 02:40:43 PM »
Icons should not be made into tattoos or put on shirts. We wear crosses, it might be okay to have writing or a cross or symbol of some sort, but icons are not appropriate.
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #101 on: October 12, 2012, 02:43:37 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I would advise for folks who get "Icon" tattoos to think responsibly.  Icons are rightfully kept in revered places, for specific times and settings.  When we put them on our skin, we just might be making our burden too much to carry sometimes, even priests would feel unworthy I imagine of these images on their skin.  On the flip side, for some folks icons on the skin might just keep them out of trouble, but then again, we all sin daily so its a toss up one way or the other.

It's not merely a question of reverence. Icons are devotional objects, and their purpose cannot be served on someone's arms, back, chest, etc.

I agree completely, but on the same token, I can understand the appeal.  In reality is the Cross any different and yet it is a common thing in our lives, and is a common tattoo as well.  I personally do not feel folks should get tattoos of Iconography, and again, I can understand the Byzantine canons/Fathers prohibitions on these.  Further, I don't know a lot of Orthodox who have such, but I have met and know plenty of Catholics and unaffiliated folks who have tats of Jesus or Our Lady (sometimes you see more tattoos of Our Lady of Guadelupe in LA than you do murals and that is saying something!!), and lightening bolts haven't exactly struck them down yet :)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline choy

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #102 on: October 12, 2012, 02:47:39 PM »
Can I get a tatoo of ICXC?

Offline WeldeMikael

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #103 on: October 12, 2012, 02:49:11 PM »
Can I get a tatoo of ICXC?

As a non - Coptic, is it okay to have a small cross on the wrist ?

Offline peacenprayer

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #104 on: October 12, 2012, 04:24:24 PM »
I've got three. One on each arm, one on my chest. All from before I was Orthodox so I don't really want them anymore. Removal is as painful as it is expensive, and getting them covered would be considerably cheaper, but likely to be frowned upon. Sucky conundrum, that.
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #105 on: October 12, 2012, 04:55:16 PM »
Can I get a tatoo of ICXC?

Based on the assumption that tattoos are okay, which is questionable, I don't see why ICXC would be inappropriate.

As a non - Coptic, is it okay to have a small cross on the wrist ?

The Coptic practice is a direct result of their experience of persecution. I really wanted one for a long time, but I think those of us who do not come from that social context should ask ourselves if there really is any reason to get such a tattoo other than needless vanity. I've yet to find a good reason, so I've yet to get one. The late Pope Shenouda III did not have one, and I know many Coptic bishops discourage those living outside the Islamic world from getting them.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 04:57:00 PM by Orthodox11 »

Offline WeldeMikael

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #106 on: October 12, 2012, 04:59:28 PM »
That's what I thought too.

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #107 on: February 23, 2013, 04:51:45 PM »

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #108 on: February 23, 2013, 07:05:59 PM »
personally, i am a big fan of cross tattoos.
i am also a fan of sterilisation of equipment!
 :)
i have only once seen a coptic priest who did not have a tattoo, so the prohibition must have been somewhere else.
and i think it's fine for others to copy coptic tattoos, but i suggest u get it done by a Christian so it doesn't look weird.
i once asked for a cross henna 'tattoo' when i was having the henna from my friend's wedding.
i didn't realise the henna specialist was muslim (she wasn't hijabi or anything), i only found out after i asked when her cross looked wobbly.
i am glad it wasn't a permanent one!

so check sterility, check you tattooist and be sure you never want to go into a japanese spa
(they don't allow tattoos and you have to go in 100% naked, so u can't hide anything!)
i don't know of any orthodox churches that forbid them.

Offline Ersaia

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #109 on: February 23, 2013, 08:00:41 PM »
I have seen small crosses in the face in photos of old women from some greek areas



http://www.vlahoi.net/multimedia/gallery.html

as they wrote there they make this tattoo in young girls because muslims took the girls for harems and wanted to abjuring this or wanted when the girls become older in harems to remember that they were christians


btw I just realize how problematic was the "nazi number tattoo" in the Jews



Offline Android_Rewster

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #110 on: March 04, 2013, 03:33:05 PM »
 This is super old. I just found this on google while searching for the church's opinion on tattoos! haha

 I've been considering gettin the Petrine Cross. Do any of you think people would find this offensive, given the current context of what it's used for in modern death metal bands? :/

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #111 on: March 04, 2013, 03:35:35 PM »
what is the petrine cross?
sorry, have missed a few of the latest death metal bands due to prior commitments.
 ;)

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #112 on: March 04, 2013, 03:40:28 PM »
what is the petrine cross?

Upside down cross I would assume (they say Peter was crucified upside down)...

As for me, I plan on getting an upside down cross, but it will be more a mirror image of the Russian Orthodox Cross* I already have, not a design by itself. I wouldn't get an upside down cross as a centerpiece or by itself, any more than I would get a swastika in celebration of some noble/peaceful religious use. The symbols have just been too far corrupted IMO, and would cause too much confusion.


* For those who want to argue this-- that's right, there is such a thing as a Russian Orthodox cross. Sorry if you can't wrap your mind around that. Come at me bro.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 03:42:36 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #113 on: March 04, 2013, 03:47:33 PM »
why would you want an upside down cross?
(sorry, i am ignorant, naive and almost middle aged...)

Offline sheenj

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #114 on: March 04, 2013, 03:52:05 PM »
why would you want an upside down cross?
(sorry, i am ignorant, naive and almost middle aged...)

I guess if St. Peter is your Patron Saint, seeing as how he was crucified upside down.

Offline Android_Rewster

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #115 on: March 04, 2013, 04:45:28 PM »
 The Petrine Cross is symbolically used to represent humility and inadequacy in comparison to Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice. :) Peter was hung upside down because he didn't believe he was worthy to die like Christ.

 I have some particular emotional ties to the story and I'd love a reminder that Christ, though sinless, died in my sinful place.

Offline Arachne

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #116 on: March 04, 2013, 04:54:54 PM »
I've reached middle age without any ink on me, so it's highly unlikely that I'd decide to get something now... but if I did, a Brigid's cross would be the most suitable. Only I'd have to find an actual, physical cross to take to the artist to copy, because the flash designs I've seen are just tacky.
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Offline mabsoota

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #117 on: March 04, 2013, 06:04:14 PM »
arachne, you have 5 years to go in my flawless, well researched international definition of 'middle age' (it used to be '40' but the definition got older as i did!)
 ;)
also i agree it's important not to end up with a tacky design (see my 'reply 108' on this page)

android rewster (can i call u android for short?!),
maybe you could get a normal cross, plus a symbol of peter next to it.
then no one would confuse you with a death metal musician!
i wish u all the best in your tattoo hunt.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #118 on: March 04, 2013, 09:01:55 PM »
Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am Jehovah.

I'd take it up with God before you got a tattoo.   It's his temple.
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #119 on: March 04, 2013, 09:31:31 PM »
The Church very clearly condemns it, however, I think an exception could be made for the Copts who have to tattoo their children so that they'll remember their faith if the heathen Muslims kidnap them. I'd personally like to get the two Crosses tattooed on my wrists sort of as a way of paying respect to them.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #120 on: March 04, 2013, 09:43:47 PM »
The Church very clearly condemns it,

Evidence...?

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #121 on: March 04, 2013, 09:46:22 PM »
The Church very clearly condemns it,

Evidence...?

My spiritual father told me that the Church does not look too kindly to it and STRONGLY recommended that I don't get any about a year ago.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #122 on: March 05, 2013, 01:46:04 PM »
Among others, I have this on the inside of my arm/bicep.  :)
Looks like Morals and dogma cover...
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Offline alanscott

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #123 on: March 06, 2013, 09:22:34 AM »
Forgive my butting in...  ;)
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #124 on: March 06, 2013, 09:53:21 AM »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #125 on: July 24, 2013, 03:04:58 AM »
Thoughts:

« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 03:05:27 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #126 on: July 24, 2013, 03:14:11 AM »
Thoughts:



Ugly, blasphemous, and totally unnecessary.
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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #127 on: July 24, 2013, 03:30:18 AM »
Our Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church retains certain Judaic elements, such as the practice of circumcision and abstinence from pork. However, these are simply cultural traditions, not matters of salvation. For example, even though Ethiopian Orthodox Christians practice circumcision, we nevertheless confess in the Divine Liturgy: “Let us not be circumcised like the Jews, for He who fulfilled the Law has already come.” So, we do not base our salvation on the Old Testament Law, we base our salvation on Christ and His Cross. As we pray:

“The Cross is our power,
the Cross is our strength,
the Cross is our redemption,
the Cross is the salvation of our souls.”


The Old Testament proscription against tattoos was actually a proscription against idolatry. The pagans would tattoo their flesh with markings of their false gods. So God commanded the Israelites to avoid such idolatrous practices. Some Christian cultures use tattoos of the Holy Cross as an identifying statement of their faith. The Muslims used to force Coptic Christians to tattoo Crosses on themselves, and over time, Coptic Christians began to tattoo Crosses on their hands or wrists as a reminder of the persecution that Christians must be prepared to face. Many Ethiopian Christian women have traditionally tattooed Crosses on their foreheads and faces. And many Ethiopian Priests will have a Cross tattooed on their hands.

I got most of may tattoos before I was baptized. After my baptism I got a small Cross tattooed on my hand, and a small Cross tattooed on my neck. My Priest told me this was OK. So, I don’t think tattoos in and of themselves are wrong. The issue is what kind of tattoo you get and why you get it. Certainly tattoos can be a matter of vanity, and vanity is something to be avoided. And certainly it is not good to tattoo the flesh with pagan images. But there is no New Testament teaching or Church law that forbids tattoos that I am aware of.

OK, that is my humble understanding and opinion of the matter. Hope it makes sense.






Selam
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #128 on: July 24, 2013, 03:32:19 AM »
Thoughts:



Cool ink. I like it. But what do the eagles represent?



Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #129 on: July 24, 2013, 03:38:36 AM »
Ugly, blasphemous, and totally unnecessary.

Come now, don't hold back!  :)

What about it is blasphemous?

Offline LBK

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #130 on: July 24, 2013, 03:49:22 AM »
Ugly, blasphemous, and totally unnecessary.

Come now, don't hold back!  :)

What about it is blasphemous?

Turning the Christian cross into a lurid badge akin to bikers' colors. And don't get me started on the aggressive phyletism expressed in the composition ...
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #131 on: July 24, 2013, 10:34:04 AM »
I think this falls under the subjects of virtue of modesty and of the sin of fear of the world.

Like someone mentioned, earings are a kind of socially accepted piercing. Since we agree that it is acceptable, why not other forms of enhancing the beauty of the body?

And then again, there are earings and earings. Some are beautiful, modest and elegant, others scream vulgarity and attention digging.

We should not condemn a practice based on our tastes only, but also I don't see why, in accepting it, we should think that *every* form of it is acceptable.

Tattoos and piercings should be seen as any other accessory. Yes, of course, there is vanity related to it, just like there is in having large beards, wearing rings, necklaces and still there are ways of doing all this that are acceptable for a Christian life.

My own aesthetique sense sees large tattoos as screams. It's like the person is shouting that at you. Yet, some are really beautiful. I think a "better not" attitude is the right one though. Maybe even piercing the ears is one of those small mistakes so ingrained in our culture that we don't see it for what they are.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #132 on: July 24, 2013, 10:51:22 PM »
Cool ink. I like it. But what do the eagles represent?
Serbia I assume

Ugly, blasphemous, and totally unnecessary.

Come now, don't hold back!  :)

What about it is blasphemous?

Turning the Christian cross into a lurid badge akin to bikers' colors. And don't get me started on the aggressive phyletism expressed in the composition ...

How about this one, LBK:

« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 10:52:16 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #133 on: July 24, 2013, 11:10:29 PM »
Thoughts:



Ugly, blasphemous, and totally unnecessary.

Not to mention the iconography is totally whack. That double eagle shows evident Western influence and the bottom cross is clearly uncanonical.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Orthodox Christians and Tattoos
« Reply #134 on: July 24, 2013, 11:12:34 PM »
Jesus wants you to be cool. He endured crucifixion and death so that you could get crosses tattooed on yourself.
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