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« on: October 04, 2013, 07:18:40 AM »

I serve at the altar in my parish and really love it. One thing bothers me though and I wanted you guys opinion. The "subdeacon" keeps talking about people wearing blue jeans around the altar and saying how it bothers him when people do it. I haven't said anything but what if someone can't afford nicer clothes?
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 07:19:34 AM »

Sticharion?
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 07:43:59 AM »

You should ask him.  And maybe remind him he is a subdeacon, not Patriarch yet.  Ah,  the subdiaconate...
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 07:55:45 AM »

If they're clean, what's the problem?  Ask your priest if it bothers him.  That would end the discussion then and there.
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 08:08:59 AM »

Normal clothes, whether jeans or an expensive suit, should not be worn by those serving in the altar (and if they're not serving, they shouldn't be there). If possible, they should wear a sticharion or at least some kind of rasso.
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 08:19:28 AM »

Normal clothes, whether jeans or an expensive suit, should not be worn by those serving in the altar (and if they're not serving, they shouldn't be there). If possible, they should wear a sticharion or at least some kind of rasso.

I was under the impression he was talking about what they should wear under the Sticharion.
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 08:22:20 AM »

On another note, I buy both my jeans and slacks at Wal-mart.  Sometimes the jeans are a few dollars more than the slacks.  I work in both an office and a restaurant, so I know what it's like to have to dress for both without breaking bank.
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 08:53:07 AM »

I was under the impression he was talking about what they should wear under the Sticharion.

Then they should get longer sticharia, otherwise the disgruntled subdeacon wouldn't be able to tell.
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 09:00:43 AM »

I serve at the altar in my parish and really love it. One thing bothers me though and I wanted you guys opinion. The "subdeacon" keeps talking about people wearing blue jeans around the altar and saying how it bothers him when people do it. I haven't said anything but what if someone can't afford nicer clothes?

Improper dichotomy.  While I do certainly think that the subdeacon is getting his proverbial knickers in a twist over nothing, to say that the only trousers people with little money can afford are jeans is even more ridiculous.  As hecma noted, jeans can even cost more than slacks. 

The idea that less well-off folks are doomed to wear work clothes (ie jeans and t-shirts) is a very recent phenomenon in American culture and an increasingly disturbing one. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 09:35:24 AM »

As proof, the last pair of black dress pants I purchased at my local Wal-mart ("George" as Wal-mart's house brand of men's clothes) was around $14.  The last pair of jeans I got from there (Arizona brand.  Wranglers were pricier) was around $19 or 20.  Your pricing may be different where you live, but not by much.  It's Wal-mart. Smiley

EDIT:

I completely agree with you, Shultz.  I'm a welder and to have even the "cheap" clothing and safety gear to do a job will cost you a pretty penny.  The work jeans I used that were suitable for the work was $60.  Not to mention good boots and gloves.  That's one reason I'm not welding at the moment;  most jobs require you to have all your gear ready to go.
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 11:19:01 AM »

The idea that less well-off folks are doomed to wear work clothes (ie jeans and t-shirts) is a very recent phenomenon in American culture and an increasingly disturbing one. 
Remember when the proles wore vests and collared shirts to work at the mill?

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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 11:42:00 AM »


I think the issue is whether the men serving in the altar are showing due respect, and are preparing themselves properly to be in the presence of God.

Yes, I know...we are all, always in the presence of God...but, we are not all allowed to enter the Altar for a reason....because it is the holiest place we have here on earth.

Therefore, when entering such a holy place....the men need to show respect.  God told Moses to remove his sandals at the burning bush because it was a holy place.

Are the men wearing jeans, wearing them because that's all they have, because they think they look good in them, or because they couldn't be bothered to iron a pair of slacks and put them on in the morning....because that would also require matching socks and polished shoes?

Is it laziness or necessity?  That makes a huge difference in judging the person wearing the jeans...not that we are to judge...because I think we are all lax in our preparation for Divine Liturgy...especially me.    Most times I run out of the house with no time to spare, and am running my fingers through my hair in the car to get them to stay down....but, I am not entering the Altar, either.
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 11:42:45 AM »

The idea that less well-off folks are doomed to wear work clothes (ie jeans and t-shirts) is a very recent phenomenon in American culture and an increasingly disturbing one. 
Remember when the proles wore vests and collared shirts to work at the mill?



How bully those men look!

As for altarwear, my priest is highly opposed to shorts in Church, especially behind the altar.  And no hands in pockets.  I usually wear a dress shirt that already has the charcoal stains of the last dozen sundays on it and my usual slacks like I wear at work.  The sticharion covers everything besides my highwater pants and shoes.  For this reason I try as hard as possible to have light or dark coloured socks to match the pants, regardless of whether the Sunday is a bright colour or dark colour day.
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 12:08:34 PM »

In the local Antiochian Church in my city, you are not allowed at the altar without a cassock or vestmet.  The same was the rule in the ROCOR Church where I was baptized.  The Serbian Church where I serve as a Reader did not have such a policy in the past, but has adopted this policy since I joined.  What you wear under your "Church Clothing" is up to you, as long as you have decent shoes.
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 12:22:57 PM »

I was under the impression he was talking about what they should wear under the Sticharion.

Then they should get longer sticharia, otherwise the disgruntled subdeacon wouldn't be able to tell.

Or he could have seen them before or after the liturgy, without their Sticharia on.
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2013, 12:32:06 PM »

The idea that less well-off folks are doomed to wear work clothes (ie jeans and t-shirts) is a very recent phenomenon in American culture and an increasingly disturbing one. 

I agree wholeheartedly.  

Personally, I don't think jeans are appropriate for Liturgy, and certainly not for serving at the altar, even if you put on a sticharion and/or cassock.  And while I think it is right to consider the spirit with which these things are done, I don't think this ought to be the primary consideration that trumps all others.

Regarding costs, others have already noted that jeans can be more expensive than dress pants.  Personal comfort is one factor, as jeans are more comfortable than dress pants (at least to me).  Fashion also enters into this: in India, for example, it has become increasingly common for young people to wear jeans to church and when serving at the altar.  Part of the reason for that is because, since jeans are considered fashionable and Western, they think it is their "best" attire, and so that's what they choose to wear.  The other part of it is that they're fashionable and Western, so they (think they) look good wearing them.  The former is a decent, if possibly misguided, motivation, while the latter is simply vanity.  I don't think Americans are exempt from these and other motivations, either on their own or in combination.  

But we know culturally that there is a time and a place for certain types of clothes, and we have no objection to such norms.  The other day I got a jury summons, and among the instruction was "Please dress in a manner that shows respect for these important proceedings".  We do that with jury duty, court appearances, job interviews and work, important social engagements, etc.  A person has to be really poor for us to justify poor appearance at such events, otherwise we find a way to do the right thing and call anything else laziness.  When did church become different, and why?  

We don't know anything about the subdeacon in the original post other than that he has a problem with jeans in the altar, and I feel we are judging him too harshly.  Perhaps he deserves it, but based only on the OP, I don't think we have enough information to think he's out of line.  I don't think it's too much to insist that servers dress in a manner that shows respect for what goes on at the altar and what they do there, and I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that jeans do not adequately serve this purpose.  It's not unreasonable to expect that servers are held to a higher standard than other parishioners because of their function and increased visibility.  I can't help thinking that this is just a manifestation of "lazyamericanism".  And it's not even all Americans.  
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2013, 03:43:34 PM »

Quote
Normal clothes, whether jeans or an expensive suit, should not be worn by those serving in the altar (and if they're not serving, they shouldn't be there). If possible, they should wear a sticharion or at least some kind of rasso.

I was under the impression he was talking about what they should wear under the Sticharion.

Yes I was talking about under the sticharion. Here's where it bothers me, none of the apostles let alone Jesus Himself would be able to be at the alter under those dress stipulations. In my area, I can get jeans for about $9 at Walmart. There aren't any slacks for less. If you wear slacks though you can't wear tennis shoes either so you'd have to purchase nicer shoes, which would be another expense. I would find it hard to believe that our Father would not allow us to serve at His alter because we couldn't afford the dress code.
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2013, 03:54:16 PM »

My understandings of the dress code is this: Dark colored shoes, preferably dress shoes, dark pants, shirts without writing and sweaters for Vigil. For the liturgy, the same but with dress shirts instead. I only have two pairs of dress pants, one of them being the bottoms of a tuxedo. So I will usually wear jeans for vigil that are either dark navy blue or black. Preferably, wear dark colored socks, especially if you wear sandals. The reason why I am posting this is because Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald called me out for wearing white socks with sandals, and he disapproves of white shoes, especially white sneakers in the altar, although it can be occasionally seen elsewhere. Shorts are also an absolute no-no. Not even the youngest kids in the altar at St. John the Baptist Cathedral (ROCOR, DC) wear shorts.
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2013, 04:34:04 PM »

Quote
Normal clothes, whether jeans or an expensive suit, should not be worn by those serving in the altar (and if they're not serving, they shouldn't be there). If possible, they should wear a sticharion or at least some kind of rasso.

I was under the impression he was talking about what they should wear under the Sticharion.

Yes I was talking about under the sticharion. Here's where it bothers me, none of the apostles let alone Jesus Himself would be able to be at the alter under those dress stipulations. In my area, I can get jeans for about $9 at Walmart. There aren't any slacks for less. If you wear slacks though you can't wear tennis shoes either so you'd have to purchase nicer shoes, which would be another expense. I would find it hard to believe that our Father would not allow us to serve at His alter because we couldn't afford the dress code.
Again, nice shoes can be had inexpensively.  My favorite black leather shoes were bought at a thrift store for $3.  A little Kiwi shine, it was good as new.  Also, about Our Father and dress codes, just talk with the Levites. 
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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2013, 04:51:44 PM »

Here's where it bothers me, none of the apostles let alone Jesus Himself would be able to be at the alter under those dress stipulations.

If this is the standard you are going to apply when it comes to altar dress codes, why not apply it all the way rather than selectively?  

But if we did that, church would look very different.  

Quote
I would find it hard to believe that our Father would not allow us to serve at His alter because we couldn't afford the dress code.

We don't wear clothes for God, we wear clothes for ourselves.  And what we wear says something about who we are, what we stand for, how important we consider the things we're engaged in, etc.  If your outward demeanor indicates you don't take altar service seriously, how likely is it that your inward demeanor is perfectly aligned with God?  It's possible, sure, but by no means probable.  But if your inward attitude is such that you take altar service seriously, you're more likely to take your outward appearance seriously without anyone instructing you or referring you to "the rules".  

God knows the heart of the priest, but if he waltzed into church in jeans and a V-neck, picked up the Gospel, and started singing "Blessed is the Kingdom" to begin the Liturgy, not one person--not even anyone in this thread--would think he was in his right mind, even if it doesn't really matter to God what clothes the priest wears.  If you show up to your own wedding wearing jeans and a sweater because "God knows your heart", God's not going to care, but your fiancée will, even if she too "knows your heart" and loves you to death (and it may very well be your death).  This is common sense, not just for weddings but in many aspects of life, but somehow it gets defenestrated when it comes to laypeople's participation in religious stuff because "God understands".  We should stop treating God worse than a one-night stand.  

Oh, and...

Quote
Matthew 22

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ 5 But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
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« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2013, 05:01:14 PM »

 We should stop treating God worse than a one-night stand.  


And this is exactly why I love you, my dear friend.
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« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2013, 05:11:29 PM »

And this is exactly why I love you, my dear friend.

I just can't help it!  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2013, 06:20:42 PM »

I serve at the altar in my parish and really love it. One thing bothers me though and I wanted you guys opinion. The "subdeacon" keeps talking about people wearing blue jeans around the altar and saying how it bothers him when people do it. I haven't said anything but what if someone can't afford nicer clothes?

I always ask youth (and try to do this in front of their parents so the get the clue too) what would you were if you were invited to go to the White House to meet the President? Not one has ever said blue jeans and a t-shirt, I usually hear a suit, or a shirt and tie. I then reply, well when you go to church you are visiting God, and don't you think he is a lot more important than the president? The point seems to always be made.
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« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2013, 08:04:45 PM »

I serve at the altar in my parish and really love it. One thing bothers me though and I wanted you guys opinion. The "subdeacon" keeps talking about people wearing blue jeans around the altar and saying how it bothers him when people do it. I haven't said anything but what if someone can't afford nicer clothes?

I always ask youth (and try to do this in front of their parents so the get the clue too) what would you were if you were invited to go to the White House to meet the President? Not one has ever said blue jeans and a t-shirt, I usually hear a suit, or a shirt and tie. I then reply, well when you go to church you are visiting God, and don't you think he is a lot more important than the president? The point seems to always be made.

WIN!!!  This should be printed in large font, and displayed in a prominent position in the vestry.

Kudos also to Mor's excellent posts.
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« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2013, 08:20:28 PM »

I serve at the altar in my parish and really love it. One thing bothers me though and I wanted you guys opinion. The "subdeacon" keeps talking about people wearing blue jeans around the altar and saying how it bothers him when people do it. I haven't said anything but what if someone can't afford nicer clothes?

Improper dichotomy.  While I do certainly think that the subdeacon is getting his proverbial knickers in a twist over nothing, to say that the only trousers people with little money can afford are jeans is even more ridiculous.  As hecma noted, jeans can even cost more than slacks. 

The idea that less well-off folks are doomed to wear work clothes (ie jeans and t-shirts) is a very recent phenomenon in American culture and an increasingly disturbing one. 

 I sometimes wear blue jeans for vigil but I figure no can really see because I am vested and it's dark. Liturgy nice trousers only.

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« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2013, 09:21:03 PM »

Quote
We don't wear clothes for God, we wear clothes for ourselves.  And what we wear says something about who we are, what we stand for, how important we consider the things we're engaged in, etc.

If what we wear says something about who we are then what would you say the clothes on a homeless person says? My wife was very poor growing up and was treated badly for how she dressed. Is that who we are?

Quote
I always ask youth (and try to do this in front of their parents so the get the clue too) what would you were if you were invited to go to the White House to meet the President? Not one has ever said blue jeans and a t-shirt, I usually hear a suit, or a shirt and tie. I then reply, well when you go to church you are visiting God, and don't you think he is a lot more important than the president? The point seems to always be made.

If a homeless person or someone poor was invited to the White House, would that change their ability to get nice clothes?
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« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2013, 09:37:44 PM »

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

James 2:1-4
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« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2013, 09:55:19 PM »

Quote
We don't wear clothes for God, we wear clothes for ourselves.  And what we wear says something about who we are, what we stand for, how important we consider the things we're engaged in, etc.

If what we wear says something about who we are then what would you say the clothes on a homeless person says? My wife was very poor growing up and was treated badly for how she dressed. Is that who we are?

Quote
I always ask youth (and try to do this in front of their parents so the get the clue too) what would you were if you were invited to go to the White House to meet the President? Not one has ever said blue jeans and a t-shirt, I usually hear a suit, or a shirt and tie. I then reply, well when you go to church you are visiting God, and don't you think he is a lot more important than the president? The point seems to always be made.

If a homeless person or someone poor was invited to the White House, would that change their ability to get nice clothes?

Are you homeless?  Are you so poor that you do not know where your next meal is coming from?  We are not talking about the homeless, we are talking about you.  You have internet access.  You may be using a library's connection, but for some reason I doubt that very much.

My grandfather raised 13 children on a steel worker's salary.  When he and his family went to church, all the boys had suits and all the girls wore their best dresses.  He found a way and clothes today are far cheaper than they were back then.  No one is telling you or anyone else they must wear designer clothes.  It is demonstrably false that there is some great financial gulf between owning jeans and owning a pair of dark non-denim trousers.  If you shop at Wal-Mart, I can attest that Dickies are often on sale for less than $20 and will last for a long time.  I am, in fact, wearing a pair right now that I purchased at least five years ago and that I wear pretty hard multiple times a week.  If you only wear them on Sundays they can literally last you a lifetime.

And stop the proof texting.  The Devil can quote Scripture to suit his needs, too.  Knock it off.  The only reason you are arguing is because you simply do not want to own a pair of non-denim trousers.  I may be vain, but I admit it as such.  Don't try to turn sloth into a virtue.
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« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2013, 10:01:33 PM »

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Are you homeless?  Are you so poor that you do not know where your next meal is coming from?  We are not talking about the homeless, we are talking about you.  You have internet access.  You may be using a library's connection, but for some reason I doubt that very much.

My grandfather raised 13 children on a steel worker's salary.  When he and his family went to church, all the boys had suits and all the girls wore their best dresses.  He found a way and clothes today are far cheaper than they were back then.  No one is telling you or anyone else they must wear designer clothes.  It is demonstrably false that there is some great financial gulf between owning jeans and owning a pair of dark non-denim trousers.  If you shop at Wal-Mart, I can attest that Dickies are often on sale for less than $20 and will last for a long time.  I am, in fact, wearing a pair right now that I purchased at least five years ago and that I wear pretty hard multiple times a week.  If you only wear them on Sundays they can literally last you a lifetime.

And stop the proof texting.  The Devil can quote Scripture to suit his needs, too.  Knock it off.  The only reason you are arguing is because you simply do not want to own a pair of non-denim trousers.  I may be vain, but I admit it as such.  Don't try to turn sloth into a virtue.

Did you see the scripture in James I posted? Besides, this isn't just about me. I know people who are very poor but I'm hesitant to invite them to my church if they're to be treated differently because of their clothes. That's the purpose of the thread. Aside from that, my opinion or anyone's opinion doesn't mean anything when the scripture in James spells out.
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« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2013, 10:10:09 PM »

If what we wear says something about who we are then what would you say the clothes on a homeless person says? My wife was very poor growing up and was treated badly for how she dressed. Is that who we are?

No, but you are making a false dichotomy based on an appeal to emotion.  

I concede the possibility that there are people who may be considered by others to be dressed poorly but who are actually doing the best they can with what they've got.  The pastor ought to know his flock well enough to know who these people are and stand up for them if necessary.  

But in this thread we're not talking about specific people, we are discussing general policies.  And generally, people should dress their best for church, and those who serve at the altar, due to the nature of their duties and their higher visibility, should take this more seriously and offer a good example, by mandate if not voluntarily.  Altar service is not a right, it is a privilege to serve where angels fear to tread, it is a privilege to minister in roles proper to minor clergy, whether absent or not.  It is not a burdensome imposition to insist that servers comport themselves with as much respect as they can, interiorly (prayer, fasting, sacramental life, etc.) but also externally (dress, hygiene, decorum, etc.).  

If the pastor has, among his altar servers, one or more who can't meet "basic" dress code requirements because of economic hardship, he has every right to excuse them from those requirements or hold them to what they can do.  But what happens when you lower the standards for dress in the name of "someone who can't afford it" is that everyone else gets lazy, even if they have no excuse.  That is a disservice not only to themselves and to God, but also to "the poor" they are supposedly defending.    

As Schultz wrote earlier, this is a very recent problem.  Moreover, it doesn't even affect all Christians.  African-American Christians are well known for continuing to dress in their "Sunday best", and they are hardly "the 1%".  In my experience in the US, ethnic Indians, Armenians, Arab Antiochians, most Copts and Syrians, Russians, and Greeks dress well for church and for altar service.  Ethiopians and Eritreans even have a specific form of white dress which they always wear to church, so it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor--everyone wears similar garments.  In my experience, it's the "American" Orthodox, EO or OO, of whatever jurisdiction, converts and/or "N generation" born in the Church, who seem to quibble over these things in order to justify doing whatever they want.  I see it in my own community, where my own peers were raised to dress in shirt and tie for church and now their children are wearing shorts, tee shirts, sneakers, etc., and they themselves are showing up sloppier than their parents would've permitted, even though total household incomes in those families are easily in the lower six figures.  Let's not throw "the poor" under the bus in order to defend our right to act like spoiled brats in God's house.  God can find a way to respect honest spoiled brats, but he hates liars.                  
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« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2013, 10:17:43 PM »

Did you see the scripture in James I posted? Besides, this isn't just about me. I know people who are very poor but I'm hesitant to invite them to my church if they're to be treated differently because of their clothes. That's the purpose of the thread. Aside from that, my opinion or anyone's opinion doesn't mean anything when the scripture in James spells out.

The topic of the thread, as you entered it when creating it, is "What to wear around the altar?", not "What to wear in church if you're not wealthy enough to buy dress pants?"

Your quote from St James doesn't address altar service, so while it is a worth considering (many of us have people we'd love to bring to church but are worried about how others will or will not welcome them), it really isn't germane to the topic at hand. 
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« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2013, 10:22:34 PM »

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If the pastor has, among his altar servers, one or more who can't meet "basic" dress code requirements because of economic hardship, he has every right to excuse them from those requirements or hold them to what they can do.

I understand what you're saying and agree to some some degree. But I would never presume to know someones financial means. I will tell you that most people think they're aware of someones financial means but I will tell you that in many cases you have no idea. I'll give you an example.

My company filed bankruptcy and my wife lost her job the same year. We both found work making much less money. After several months, we had our car repossessed and our home foreclosed on. Shortly after we had to file bankruptcy to keep from losing everything we had. Some days my wife and I would miss meals so our kids could eat. My sister-in-law owned an incredible house on a golf course. She let us move in that house and financed it for what we could afford. If you were to look at us and the house we lived in, you would assume we had the ability to have nice clothes and things like that and I believe some in our church think that very thing. Because they assume our financial stability, expectations are placed on me to wear nicer clothes at the altar. Nobody in my church knows this story and frankly, I don't think its anyone's business.

All that to say that because of the dress code, I either have to divulge very personal details about my life or not serve. If I can b e put in the situation then others could be too. I hope that makes sense.


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« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2013, 10:24:44 PM »

It is demonstrably false that there is some great financial gulf between owning jeans and owning a pair of dark non-denim trousers.  If you shop at Wal-Mart, I can attest that Dickies are often on sale for less than $20 and will last for a long time.  I am, in fact, wearing a pair right now that I purchased at least five years ago and that I wear pretty hard multiple times a week.  If you only wear them on Sundays they can literally last you a lifetime.

I have non-denim trousers that I wore/wear at church, for work, and for social occasions that are at least ten years old with no noticeable wear and tear.  If you're only going to be wearing them for church, buying two pairs is a long-lasting investment.  You're likely to go through more pairs of jeans in that same amount of time.  
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« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2013, 10:39:09 PM »

All that to say that because of the dress code, I either have to divulge very personal details about my life or not serve. If I can b e put in the situation then others could be too. I hope that makes sense.

Sure, it makes perfect sense, and I'm sorry to hear about your struggles (I hope things are better for you now, I mean that sincerely). 

But I still stand by what I wrote.  As I said, the priest has the right to excuse people from certain things for good reason, and he has the right and obligation to stand up for them before the community.  But this does not derogate from the correctness of a dress code for altar service as a general principle.  To say:

Quote
Because they assume our financial stability, expectations are placed on me to wear nicer clothes at the altar.

is problematic for me because the basis for dressing appropriately at the altar is the altar, not one's bank account (this thread has almost exclusively considered this issue from an economic angle, we haven't really discussed the nature of altar service).  Maybe other people don't understand that, but that is their problem.  If you have extenuating circumstances, talk to your priest and let it be.  But lowering the standards across the board will just make everyone else lazier, and they'll begin to agitate for even more leniency until the practice of the faith becomes so pointless they lose respect for it and check out entirely.   
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« Reply #34 on: October 04, 2013, 10:47:08 PM »

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But lowering the standards across the board will just make everyone else lazier, and they'll begin to agitate for even more leniency until the practice of the faith becomes so pointless they lose respect for it and check out entirely.

I'm a little gray on this. I agree to some degree. I mean one of the main reasons I came to Orthodoxy was the incredible reverence in the Liturgy's to God. I do agree with you that some might wear tank tops just because they were to lazy to get prepared for liturgy. I don't know where the medium is for this but I'm really anxious over the whole thing. My wife was so poor when she was little that she didn't have running water and because of that she is very sensitive to the subject. I do see where I'll probably have to confide in my priest over this but then if I'm allowed then won't others wonder why they can't dress like me? I mean, at the same time I don't want to cause problems either.
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« Reply #35 on: October 04, 2013, 10:57:16 PM »

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We don't wear clothes for God, we wear clothes for ourselves.  And what we wear says something about who we are, what we stand for, how important we consider the things we're engaged in, etc.

If what we wear says something about who we are then what would you say the clothes on a homeless person says? My wife was very poor growing up and was treated badly for how she dressed. Is that who we are?

Quote
I always ask youth (and try to do this in front of their parents so the get the clue too) what would you were if you were invited to go to the White House to meet the President? Not one has ever said blue jeans and a t-shirt, I usually hear a suit, or a shirt and tie. I then reply, well when you go to church you are visiting God, and don't you think he is a lot more important than the president? The point seems to always be made.

If a homeless person or someone poor was invited to the White House, would that change their ability to get nice clothes?

Are you homeless?  Are you so poor that you do not know where your next meal is coming from?  We are not talking about the homeless, we are talking about you.  You have internet access.  You may be using a library's connection, but for some reason I doubt that very much.

My grandfather raised 13 children on a steel worker's salary.  When he and his family went to church, all the boys had suits and all the girls wore their best dresses.  He found a way and clothes today are far cheaper than they were back then.  No one is telling you or anyone else they must wear designer clothes.  It is demonstrably false that there is some great financial gulf between owning jeans and owning a pair of dark non-denim trousers.  If you shop at Wal-Mart, I can attest that Dickies are often on sale for less than $20 and will last for a long time.  I am, in fact, wearing a pair right now that I purchased at least five years ago and that I wear pretty hard multiple times a week.  If you only wear them on Sundays they can literally last you a lifetime.

And stop the proof texting.  The Devil can quote Scripture to suit his needs, too.  Knock it off.  The only reason you are arguing is because you simply do not want to own a pair of non-denim trousers.  I may be vain, but I admit it as such.  Don't try to turn sloth into a virtue.

I would urge any of you attending one of those "old rust belt horrible ethnic enclave old fashioned dying parishes" or any church established say prior to 1980 to check out one of your parish anniversary journals and carefully study the "old time" photos to get an idea how hard working poor folk had no problems figuring out how to come to church - even in the depths of the Great Depression.
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« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2013, 11:02:02 PM »

I think it's only appropriate to worry about what other people are wearing to church if you're also willing to worry about what they're eating on Fridays, what sort of language they're using, what they're reading or watching on television, etc. Consistency is important in the spiritual life.
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« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2013, 11:02:35 PM »

I do see where I'll probably have to confide in my priest over this but then if I'm allowed then won't others wonder why they can't dress like me? I mean, at the same time I don't want to cause problems either.

That's on them.  You fulfill your end of things, let your priest fulfill his end of things, and be at peace.  
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« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2013, 04:02:26 AM »

My understandings of the dress code is this: Dark colored shoes, preferably dress shoes, dark pants, shirts without writing and sweaters for Vigil. For the liturgy, the same but with dress shirts instead. I only have two pairs of dress pants, one of them being the bottoms of a tuxedo. So I will usually wear jeans for vigil that are either dark navy blue or black. Preferably, wear dark colored socks, especially if you wear sandals. The reason why I am posting this is because Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald called me out for wearing white socks with sandals, and he disapproves of white shoes, especially white sneakers in the altar, although it can be occasionally seen elsewhere. Shorts are also an absolute no-no. Not even the youngest kids in the altar at St. John the Baptist Cathedral (ROCOR, DC) wear shorts.

Correct. 

Someone who has a blessing and may be "Set Apart" to provide assistance and serve within the Sanctuary, has been give a special privilege and honor in the church.  The person is serving in the presence of the Tabernacle (Artophorion), which has within it, the very essence of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is disrespectful to be dressed so casually as to be in jeans within the Altar.  A pair of descent dark colored slacks can be purchased from T.J. Max (where "you get the max for the minimum") for $20.00, often for $14.00, cheaper than descent jeans, though, they're made in Red China, Indonesia, Vietnam, or Thailand, and won't last too long, but long enough for the disposable society in which we live these days.

Anyone within the Sanctuary should be wearing at least a "rasso" which separates ones human iniquity from the sanctity of the Holy Altar, no matter how well dressed a person may be.
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« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2013, 06:18:11 AM »

An afterthought about the original post.

Those younger than 45 probably do not have the knowledge about "jeans," which have become so commonly acceptable these days.  When I was young, in the early 1960's, jeans were being worn as "play clothes."  Not too much earlier, "blue jeans," or "overalls" (the term my Dad used for them), were thought to be for farmers when working their farms.  When I was in high school, '68-'71, jeans were prohibited by the school dress code.  As late as 6 years ago, the bar I go to, an upscale, traditional bar that serves "Classic Cocktails," had a sign on the door prohibiting admission to those wearing "jeans."  I recall an evening when a young lady was denied admission as she stated, "These jeans cost $175.00!"  (The owner has since relented from this rule, much to the detriment of the appearance of the clientele, especially those who are younger.)

I am amazed at what our Presiding Priest, who is ten years younger than me, permits for the dress of our Altar Boys; i.e. polo shirts, casual shoes, no sports coats or suits, no ties.  When I was young, the dress code of the Acolyte was black polished shoes--"dress shoes," a white shirt and tie, dark slacks, and a dark sports jacket. But even with today's laxity, I don't see them wearing jeans.  I don't comment about it because they are good kids who do not think they are acting disrespectful; times have changed.

I'm offering this as a perspective as to how jeans are perceived by, at least, many in today's older generation.
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« Reply #40 on: October 05, 2013, 07:57:58 AM »

Those who say slacks are only "X" amont of dollars haven't ever gone without a meal where $14 meant whether or not you ate. Would you choose slacks for the altar or your kids a meal?
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« Reply #41 on: October 05, 2013, 08:10:29 AM »

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polo shirts, casual shoes, no sports coats or suits, no ties.

In my observation of Russian tradition, altar servers do not wear ties under their stikharion. If a server was wearing one when arriving at church, he would be directed to remove it before vesting. Other regional traditions might have the same praxis.
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« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2013, 08:19:57 AM »

Those who say slacks are only "X" amont of dollars haven't ever gone without a meal where $14 meant whether or not you ate. Would you choose slacks for the altar or your kids a meal?

Those of us who are old and grumpy enough know that what Mor Ephrem and podkarpatska have posted regarding emigrants of earlier generations and their attitude and practice regarding church attire is totally and utterly correct.

So many of these folks were as poor as church mice, and many were laborers and tradesmen on very low wages, yet they wore what they had that was their best to church, even if it were the same outfit most Sundays, even for the women. Many an emigrant mother, aunt or grandmother became a domestic seamstress out of necessity, not only making clothes from scratch, but taking adult garments which were no longer serviceable and remaking them into clothes for her children.
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« Reply #43 on: October 05, 2013, 08:28:30 AM »

My paternal grandfather was poor during the Great Depression; he had my Dad and his sisters go to work when they were 13 years old to help out the family, but he always had his suite, tie, and hat for church attendance.
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« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2013, 09:02:08 AM »

In my observation of Russian tradition, altar servers do not wear ties under their stikharion. If a server was wearing one when arriving at church, he would be directed to remove it before vesting. Other regional traditions might have the same praxis.

St. John Maximovitch prohibited them because he thought they symbolised Judas' noose.


This stuff about clothing is extremely subjective. The only rule the Church has regarding attire is that it is modest - not showing off your body, and not wearing anything very flashy, loud, jewelry, etc. Beyond that, propriety is in the eye of the beholder.
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