Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Bearded Orthodox Man

Many Orthodox men wear a beard (or some form of facial hair), especially among its clergy. The beards vary among the Orthodox faithful men, but there is definitely a significance behind the scruff.

"Orthodox Christian piety begins in the Holy Tradition of the Old Testament. Our relationship to the Lord God, holiness, worship, and morality was formed in the ancient times of the Bible. At the time of the foundation of the priesthood the Lord gave the following commandments to the priests during periods of mourning, And ye shall not shave your head for the dead [a pagan practice] with a baldness on the top; and they shall not shave their beard... (Lev. 21:5), and to all men in general, Ye shall not make a round cutting of the hair of your head, nor disfigure your beard (Lev. 19:27). The significance of these commandments is to illustrate that the clergy are to devote themselves completely to serving the Lord. Laymen as well are called to a similar service though without the priestly functions."


A great article written over at http://www.orthodoxhistory.org/ entitled: "To shave or not to shave?," gives an account from an early 20th century priest in America and his encounter about his own beard (the story even reached local newspaper outlets!). Enjoy it HERE.

Now, I'd love to claim such piety when it comes to such practice, but sadly this isn't the case for me. Those who see me on a regular basis will notice that I go days without shaving for periods of time; and sometimes, I do enjoy keeping a small goatee with a cool 'stach to accompany it. To be honest, I simply hate shaving.

As a child, I fondly remember watching my dad in the morning shaving before work. My baba would help me lather my face up with shaving cream (even though I was baby-faced), and let me use the bottom end of a toothpaste tube to scrape away the cream and invisible facial hair. I'm sure most young boys have this same memory as a child; a very fond one for me!

I remember growing up, anxious for some stubble to really shave away...I wasn't a patient child. I'd constantly complain that I couldn't wait to shave, to which my dad would kindly respond, "hold off as long as possible, once you start, you won't be able to stop."

As with most things, I hate to admit it, but of course he was right! I dread having to shave, hence the days-long scruff that adorns my face. So, while most Orthodox men "sport" a beard out of piety, sadly its usually laziness that gets the best of me.

But, that's just our lil' secret, right?! I welcome some "beard" stories of your own!

Enjoy some "sporty" looking beards below:

Greek Orthodox priest
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Russian Orthodox priest
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St Raphael Hawaweeny
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Ss Onuphrius & Paphnutius
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St Maximus the Greek
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Bulgarian Orthodox bishops
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St John Maximovitch
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Our Lord, God & Savior, Jesus Christ
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- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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