Tuesday, April 7. 2009
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Am I the first to say God bless Sitti (Grandmother in English) for her first hand response to Metropoltan Philip's arrogance at demoting his Bishops. Who said, "He pushed the 6 of them under the bus". And the legal group will hopefully offset the blind following of his two "Chancellors" who are the only ones in the present era who do the Met's bidding. May "Sitt' be joined by many. The Order does good things (all orchestrated by you know who) including many projects that do not belong under charitable giving.
#1 Anonymous Antiochian Parish Member on 2009-04-07 09:44
Two very good Reflections! The Letter to Sayedna was especially moving because of the bold items it detailed. This priest mentioned that his diocesan bishop backed him up regarding troublemakers in his parish. I wish we had a bishop like that in the Diocese of New England of the OCA!! It is especially encouraging when a bishop has and tries to cultivate the qualities of our Lord: compassion, honesty, courage, warmth, openmindedness, and love! Here's hoping and praying that more bishops, in all of our jurisdictions, will embrace these Christ-like qualities!!!
#2 David Barrett on 2009-04-07 10:27
The lady at the Archdiocese is correct. Your sitti's withholding won't change anything. BUT, if many people follow in her footsteps, the pressure will be on for +PHILIP to change his decision.
I hope (and encourage) other members of the Order to take similar action.
#3 Anonymous Antiochian Priest on 2009-04-07 10:47
I, too have left the Order (a glorified booster club) on my owith "some" who give moreywn. No phone calls to Englewood but just a renewal form in the circular file. The FOS of the OCA is what we needed in the Antiochian Church but too many are "elite" parishioners. Some bragging it gives them influence with the Metropolitan. I witnessed this. It's true without this "club" many would not give $500. or $1000. each year. Some of the projects worthy while others to make "His Office" easier on him and his staff. Relatively small sum towards our retired clergy who still have no pension as in the Greek and OCA Church.
#3.1 Anonymous "Order" Member (EX) on 2009-04-07 14:14
I had a quick question maybe someone could elaborate on; I have heard that certain leaders amongst the Antiochians are against clerical dress in public (in the letter the Father says that our OCA clergy are made fun of for wearing "hats and cassocks") and it seems even deride those who choose to wear the cassock and/or a beard/long hair. It is disturbing that this part of our tradition is made fun of and put down. Maybe it is because I come from a historically "Russian" part of Orthodox North America (Alaska), but I find this attitude on the part of some Antiochian leaders extremely offensive. I get a warm, familiar feeling when I see an Orthodox Priest in an airport or grocery store in a cassock, I say "there's one of ours" and I feel a sense of pride in our Church. Has assimilation become another golden calf?
Moses the Tlingit
#4 Moses on 2009-04-07 12:09
Sorry, I couldn't disagree more! I am a cradle Orthodox and it's just ridiculous to see long-hair, pony-tailed priests in cassocks parading around in public. There's no need for it and quite frankly, it's the converts who love this "dress-up" rather than any cradle Orthodox. In American society, as Met. Tikhon of Alaska said, Orthodox clergy should look like clerics in America. We aren't Russians, Greeks or other and those funny hats have to go - skoofas and kamilavkas. Kamalavkas were imposed on Orthodox clerics by the Moslems so they could be distinguished from Moslem clerics. We are Americans - act like Americans! If you want to play "dress-up," join the RC's!
#4.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-07 13:38
Probably another 65 year old immigrant (my parents are immigrants) telling us how to be "Americans." Does wearing a plastic tab collar make you more American? Give me a break. Who cares what you wear? it should be up to the clergy himself to decide what is more beneficial to his ministry. If you want to look like a Roman Catholic who cares?
#4.1.1 Antionymous on 2009-04-07 16:10
Yikes...the warhammer of Americanism comes crashing down again and again...assimilate or become a Roman Catholic, that's REAL nice. "Dignity and respect" by whose yardstick I wonder? It sure is reassuring that the Orthodox Borgs are here to tell us how it's done. My dad was sent to a "Christian" childrens home here in Alaska to teach him how to "act like an American" through violence and intimidation, as he was such an uncivilized savage...scary. Pass the scotch and cigars!
#4.1.2 Moses on 2009-04-07 16:23
Here, here! The playing 'dress-up' needs to go. Where I live, many priests who walk city streets in cassocks, with kalimavkas firmly perched on their heads with pony-tails, and with flowing beards are mistaken for Muslims! (Their crosses often cannot be seen because of the thick beards.)
#4.1.3 Darlene Johnson on 2009-04-07 17:46
Funny how people try to turn against "their own"... If a man in a cassock and cross bothers you or brings shame- I'm sorry. Want to be an "American" about it? you lose- God doesn't care if your American, Alaskan, etc... He is merciful- Now take those words and plant them in your heart! ....
#4.1.4 another annon priest wife on 2009-04-07 18:34
Maybe our priests, if they are to really look american, should wear tight, low riding blue jeans, with some good old Chucks, and a really tight tee shirt and pitch black hair to get the attention of the folks that are into Emo style. Or maybe they should work out and get really buff and wear tight shirts and designer jeans to appeal to other portions of our population. Or maybe they can find the biggest fattest pants and the biggest, baddest Lakers jersey and a blinged out hat, and they can keep their pectoral crosses, it works well with the hip hop group. Or maybe they can pull out their wranglers, their ropers and and indian-print startched long sleeve shirt and a brand new Stetson to top it off. So many ways to be American, I'm suprised we stick to White Protestant/Catholic middle/upper class styles. The only people that wear collars are Catholics and some Episcopalians. The vast majority of Christian clerics in the States are dressing down. The neighborhood baptist cleric just wear jeans and a T-shirt.
I have to hand it to the African American clerics, they take clerical style to a whole new level.
So, once again, which American clerical style are we talking here? Which one do you suggest?
p.s. I've seen christian Clerics use all of the above mentioned styles. If you want to be "relevant", whatever that means, the RC style is defintely not the way to go about it.
(Editor's note: I find this discussion of clergy dress really fascinating in a strange, bizarre way. Is this really the major issue in the AOCA now? I mean, perhaps it is, but the issue cannot be what the actual clothes, as the writer above points out, but the symbolism it portrays. Perhaps it would be more helpful to talk about that, because anybody not Orthodox reading this, is going to be scratching their heads, as are a few of us from other jurisdictions where clergy suits, cassocks, and all manner of dress in between is the lassez faire norm of personal choice ( with a few exceptions, mainly when some Bishops are in town....)
#4.1.5 Anonymous on 2009-04-07 20:45
The argument over clergy dress is a manifestation of a major cultural divide within every immigrant church, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox. On one side are older immigrants who desperately want to be accepted as American without having to change who they really are. Outside the church, they argue for clergy to wear suits to look American, but, inside the church, they want everything to be in their home language. On the other side are their American children and converts who, fed up with the encroachment of the secular culture around them, want to use English in the church and for clergy to wear traditional garb as a means of pushing back against the culture around them. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about Mexican Baptists or Greek Orthodox; this is a common feature of every immigrant church in America.
My aunt and uncle attend a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod parish in NE Missouri. The parish recently celebrated its 100th anniversary by opening a time capsule. No one present, however, could read the enclosed documents and a translator had to be brought in because everything in the capsule was in German and no one in their small farming town speaks German any more. Does this make them less Lutheran than their predecessors? Does the inability of most Orthodox in this country to speak Greek or Arabic or Church Slavonic make us less Orthodox? The answers one receives to these questions will, as an illustration of this cultural divide, generally be "yes" from older immigrants and "no" from younger, native-born Americans.
#188.8.131.52 Peter C. on 2009-04-08 12:27
It is so sad how you reveal your heart, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said Whoever is ashamed of Me I will be ashamed of him to My Father, further more I travel a lot and even the protestants come up to ask for prayers which you should do yourself, and if I am not mistaken you cannot even make the sign of the cross while on the plane or in a car so drop the cradle, be a True Orthodox Christian.
#4.1.6 Anonymous on 2009-04-07 22:28
As the child of an immigrant father and a mother raised in a big-city ethnic ghetto, and who---because of the old man's "funny" accent---got told by schoolmates that I wasn't a "real" American, I have (I think, anyway) some grasp of the issues of assimilation.
When St. Tikhon served in North America, and in the post-war and especially McCarthy years of my childhood, assimilation to North American culture (Canada as well as the U.S.) meant strict conformity to the WASP norm, especially in the 'burbs where I lived. Ethnicity, speaking the "old country" tongue, and following "old country" customs was something for at home behind closed doors. "English only" was the rule in the school system; indeed, here in Alberta, some of my elderly parishioners remember getting the strap for speaking Ukrainian on the playground.
Hence, in order to facilitate the pastoral ministry of the priests and deacons, at the turn of the 20th Century and in a post-war, pro-Israel North America suspicious of Arabs, both St. Tikhon and Metropolitan Philip told Orthodox clergy to blend in as much as possible, in terms of dress and deportment. Wearing suit and "dog collar" (bloody uncomfortable, by the way) fulfilled the canonical demand that clergy wear clerical attire while at the same time allowing our clergy to be seen as more "American."
But in both the U.S. and Canada there has been a huge culture shift, and His Eminence has not kept up. Perhaps moreso in Canada than the U.S., but south of the 49th as well, society has become multi-cultural. Sikh police and RCMP constables wear turbans rather than military-style caps; schools offer bi-lingual education (English and French, English and Spanish, English and Ukrainian, English and Mandarin, just to name four programmes here in Edmonton); and demands for bland conformity to what was the prevailing norm are now heard mostly from aging "ethnics" who had to make that cultural sacrifice in their own youth. In short, the reasons why Orthodox clergy should look like Latins (or, if they have better taste, like Anglicans of yesteryear) no longer obtain.
As I monastic and as someone frightfully conventional, I have a beard and long hair; and as monastics have done in both East and West, I wear the monastic habit (cassock, belt, skufia, and---as appropriate---rason) most of the time (except when cutting grass; because I'm a klutz anyway, the potential for disaster and dismemberment is enormous). That has led to some interesting and (I think) spiritually profitable conversations in the grocery store, the doctor's office, etc.
I do not suggest that every Orthodox priest or deacon must or even should wear cassock, rason, and headgear on the street. Rather, I think it depends very much upon both the cleric himself and the local situation. In some communities, looking Western gives an easier entrance into pastoral opportunities; in others, looking Eastern provides it. So it seems to me to be a matter of sensitivity to one's surroundings. In Edmonton's inner city, where I live, my black attire looks conservative, conventional, and quite tame in comparison with the orange-robed Buddhists in the area.
If there is any real problem in this teapot tempest over attire, it is the "cookie cutter" mentality involved. Whence comes this mania for everybody needing to look exactly the same? In our Archdiocese, some clergy dress in cassock, others in collar, still others in civvies, except for "church on Sunday." So? The issue is not whether we all dress alike, but whether we are, each and all, striving to be and to minister as good priests and deacons.
Fright sakes, you guys: lighten up.
#4.1.7 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2009-04-08 04:39
Thank you once again, Fr. Philip, for some good, solid, old-fashioned common sense--and even from a monastic who's a "convert!"
I recall being told once that I was a "real" Orthodox priest because of the length of my hair and beard--this from an Old Believer, even--in spite of the fact that at the time I was in a t-shirt, shorts and an old-style, block-W Washington Senators cap (at a festival on the DC mall where the OBs were giving a presentation). Anyhow, this just underlines the absurdity of spending this much time and effort on this subject as though of the essence of Orthodoxy. The absurdity is that someone would judge my "reality" as a priest from my mere appearance rather than from what comprises the content of my heart, soul, mind and strength and the service rendered therefrom.
#184.108.40.206 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-04-08 07:09
I am using anonymous so that I won't cause trouble in my parish. But I agree, I am a craddle Orthodox and cassocks and other atire should not be worn in public. I read the history of the cassock and learned that this garment was mandated by the moslem govenment on the Orthodox who were under their rule. In the 50's and 60's the Metropolia (OCA) clergy did not wear these garments when they went shopping to the A & P etc. They did wear this atire for events at the parish and when they went on minstry to their parishioners--hospital and home visits etc. The clergy --what does it matter whether the clergy are clean shaven or beaded. It is what is in their hearts that matter. Just as head covering for women-- women who wear head coverings and are immodest in behavior or language or dress; these women are being hypocrits; however being modest in atire and behavior and language is what is important. Lets get back to what is in people hearts not rules made or thrust upon people as a burden.
#4.1.8 anonymous on 2009-04-08 06:40
Conversely, women who don't wear head coverings, so as not to appear old-fashioned, but act immodestly are every bit hypocritical as those who do wear them and act immodestly. Again, I think it all comes down to freedom. I appreciate that about my diocese. Priests are free to dress like orthodox clerics of the past and others are free to dress in casual clothing out side of liturgical settings. Yet, the priests all seem to work together and have genuine love for each other. Freedom and respect. Those who want to impose cassocks, beards, long hair on everyone are wrong. Those who mock, deride and condemn those who do wear cassocks, beards, long hair are wrong. Let us love one another that with one voice we may confess...
#220.127.116.11 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 07:26
To those who think wearing a plastic tab collar is what clergy where in America think again. Our country is evangelical and well the evangelical pastors where Hawaiian shirts and flip flops if you want to look American that is what you should do. Example Rick Warren biggest name in American Christianity.
If you want to look Orthodox well...
#4.2 John Doe on 2009-04-08 00:02
Does this mean I have to have the "helmet hair" of so many of the famous evangelical preachers?
Oh where, oh where is Gene Scott now that we need him?! Ah, gone to glory. Or whatever.
#4.2.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-04-08 07:12
Ah, memories. The Rev. Gene Scott, with his massive stogie and the gospel quartet trained to sing a chorus over and over with a single wave of Gene's index finger. I still treasure the moment when he presumed to label St. James, the brother of the Lord, "A jerk," because his epistle proclaimed that faith without works is dead. He used to be on just after Johnny Carson in this market, and was a great way for this then-pagan to get in some laughs before going to bed.
#18.104.22.168 Scott Walker on 2009-04-08 12:07
Brothers and sisters,
The Holy Canons have been violated,
There are moral and ethical issues at hand.
Six Diocesan Bishops have been thrown under the bus.
And we are worried about length of hair, style of clothing and shoes or sandals.
The devil is rejoicing (not to mention those who have been his ready and willing tools for years)!
Let us focus on that which will help to restore proper order within the Church by restoring our Diocesan Bishops and seeking TOTAL TRANSPARENCY IN ALL FINANCIAL MATTERS.
And calling to task those wo have caused this chaos and damage to the Holy Church. How many have already fallen away or become dissillusioned? May God forgive us, direct and guide us.
#4.3 The ship is sinking and we worry about what to wear? on 2009-04-09 05:21
It is true though, dress with dignity and respect and people will respect you. If you dress shabby and unclean you will be not taken as seriously. It is sad that earlier the priests dressed like clergy, not fake humble third world beggers.
#5 Justin Smith on 2009-04-07 13:58
I'm sorry, were you implying that priests who wear cassocks are dressing like "fake humble third world beggars"?? How absurd!
You think that wearing a cassock (as an obedience) is FUN? You think it is FUN to be stared at anywhere you go? You think it is FUN to take your child to the orthodontist and have the rest of the waiting families crowd against the opposite wall? You think it is FUN to see a man in a pick-up truck at a rural gas station eye his gun (on the rack behind him) after he gets an eyefull of you?
My husband has been a priest for many years and has experienced all of these. The orthodontist incident took place today. He is a highly educated, well read, multi-lingual, good humored [notice I'M writing, not him] middle-class person who is well-groomed (with trimmed beard) and takes reasonable pride in his appearance. I keep his cassocks and riassas well-mended and we purchase more as needs must.
Why would he dress like an Episcopalian? Or a Roman Catholic? Or an AME preacher? He is dressing like an Orthodox priest, just like his spiritual fathers.
#5.1 Anonymous Matushka on 2009-04-07 17:07
I will apologize for my remark about fake humility and begger, that was written out of frustration after all i have read on this website and I am truly ashamed about that one, I will apologize if they offended you because it is a hard profession and I believe in my heart your husband is a great orthodox priest and I do not deny any hardships that comes with it for their family. Please forgive me.
Anyways, on a personal level Matushka, forgive me if I offended you or your husband because that is NOT what I wanted to do, especially during Lent.
Lord have mercy on me.
#5.1.1 Justin Smith on 2009-04-07 19:21
Justin Smith Rawks!
#22.214.171.124 Antionymous on 2009-04-08 06:52
Just speaking as a member of the laity, I greatly appreciate Orthodox priests who are not ashamed or intimidated into not dressing in traditional priest attire. There is no doubt it draws attention, and not all of it welcome, and I for one am grateful for that. Every young priest I meet with beard and cassock in public I tell how much I appreciate what they do and how good it is to be able at a glance to tell that is an Orthodox priest, not RC, Anglican, Lutheran or something else.
While I can understand the desire of some to not look so out of place and yet still want to look clerical, the biggest problem it seems to me is that there is no distinctive Orthodox variant of modern clerical dress. If I am not mistaken there is a short work cassock/vest that is traditional. If we must have a more "modern" looking set of attire why not modify/make use of what is ours to that end and not try to look like a generic liturgical cleric. The laity needs to be able to assess at a glance that a priest is an Orthodox one not some other. That cannot be done with tab collared shirts.
As for cassocks in general. I think there is a cannon which says that even a reader, if he neglects to wear his cassock during the week should not be permitted to serve in the altar. So if this is true for readers, it must be doublely, treblely, quadtrebly important for the priest.
The long and short of it is for me, I am grateful for Orthodox priests who have the courage and desire to look the part in public, even if it costs them, especialy if it costs them. They make my heart glad every time I see them.
#5.1.2 Robert Hegwood on 2009-04-08 08:21
When I (a convert) came to Orthodoxy, i naively believed that the Order of St. Ignatius was an inclusive philanthropic organization. Instead, I found it to be a "club" for rich Arabs. In my parish, the "insiders" paraded with their ribbons while the outsiders looked on. Take a look at the governing board, and you will see that it is composed of the inside crowd in the Archdiocese. Is there a single convert? Perhaps, but I doubt it. It seems at conventions it's a way for self-important persons to spend money on an expensive dinner and for people to be seen. I do believe that their monies are used for some good works, but it's hard to tell exactly where all that money goes. I never did fit into the insider crowd, and recently decided that my meager monthly donations could be spent in the local church where I could actually see the benefits. And in most cases, it's the local parish which really needs the financial support. I love the Faith and I want it to be a major influence in America. I believe people (young and old) are hungry for Orthodox truths, but they will not find the richness of the Orthodox faith in exclusive clubs.
#6 anon on 2009-04-07 17:33
My cousin is rethinking his "Order" membership. Believe St. Ignatius would wonder about it all. Order members at the Trisagion in the funeral home come to the front for the prayers. An older woman born in Lebanon went forward and told, "You are not an order member". Such elitism with ribbons and crosses to distinquish one. And the ticket book at the upcomig Convention in the desert place is $250. each and does not include a seperate Order dinner ticket ($75, or more). Some who attend with families spend far more than that given to their local parishes. This a fact. Met Philip should have been an entrepeneur as he is a CEO at the very best. He should read the Fathers.
#6.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-07 18:07
More ad hominem...... Let's see....we don't like the decision from Antioch, so let's bash whatever good +MP ever did. Then let's bash the dean of his cathedral. Then the order of St. Ignatius.
This is sinful. I hate this order (from Antioch) and hope to see it revoked. I disagree w/ the primate on many things. But this dogpile we tend to do.....well....we need to try to "see our own sins, and not judge our brother."
I am not a big fan of The Order (of St. Ignatius). But we should not judge those who join, the majority of whom are striving to do some good for God's church. Donm't bash tme because you feel left out. Must have been the last kid picked for teams on the playground or something.....
#6.2 Antionymous on 2009-04-07 20:41
I don’t know much about the AOCA and I am very surprised to hear about the existence of an Order within it. I have always thought that Orders are incompatible with the Orthodox Tradition and are a Roman Catholic phenomenon. I would be thankful if a clergyman could expound on this subject.
I didn’t see anyone being bashed. When people support an organization it is completely reasonable and prudent to inquire about its purpose. If this Order of St. Ignatius does good then why do you hate it and want it disbanded? Why can’t one strive to do good for God’s church without being a member of an elite group within it?
#6.2.1 Karina Ross on 2009-04-08 10:25
There is nothing wrong with people of means to want to help their Church. But I would agree that if they do give so that they may be "seen by men" then whatever they give is weakened - not negated, but weakened in the eyes of the Lord. Let those in the Order give, or those in the GOA Archons give, in secret. It is rather crude to be in the presence of Bishop Antoun and watch him "play the room" as he plays to the baser instincts in us to outdo each other - even if it is for a good cause. Better to simply tithe one's income and let the power of the tithe inspire others.
What is done in secret for the good and glory of the Kingdom, stays in secret for the glory of the Kingdom and is known by the Lord!
#6.3 Anonymous on 2009-04-07 21:14
While a Priest in a larger parish I would be mortified by a visit of Met P. or Bishop Antoun who seemingly could'nt wait for the Liturgy to end and the ORDER INSTALLATION to begin. And with weeks of reminders that new Order members expected'! Goals of 1,000 then 2,000, and finally 3,000. Not bad but as one noted (truth) some give more to the Order than to their parish. And that goal out of about 100,000 communicants in N. Amer. (except when the Patriarch comes and news reports claim 500,000. Elitism at it'sw best.
#6.3.1 Anonymous Antiochian Priest on 2009-04-08 18:31
Suspend membership in the Order of St Ignatius and support the work of your Teen SOYO or Orthodox Christian Fellowship directly. Orthodox Christian Fellowship cares for our college student away at college and they are terribly underfunded. Give where it is needed the most.
#7 anonymous on 2009-04-07 21:58
Yes, please do! SOYO and OCF are both wonderful organizations, as are the summer camps across our Archdiocese. The Order does many wonderful things, but they aren't the only entity that can get those things done.
I am very proud of my Sitti for what she did and eternally grateful for the example she is to me and all those around her. She is the most gracious and wise woman I know. I am saddened that she has to witness this upheaval in the church so late in her life.
May we all continue to pray for our leaders and struggle for our salvation as we approach the Feast of Feasts!
#7.1 Proud of MY Sitti on 2009-04-08 15:03
Look, in the "old countries" long hair, pony tails, scraggly beards and cassocks are normal. It's of their culture. Priests wearing this in America is not of our culture. The cassock, a normal garb worn by priests in public in Greece, Syria, Russia, etc. is NOT the normal garb for priests in the US. It's not an Orthodox thing, it's a cultural thing. A well-groomed priest in a black, blue or gray suit with priest collar is of our culture. Again, what are we? Are we Russians? Greeks? Syrians? Other? We are Americans. Leave the cassock at the door of the church, shave and get a hair cut!
#8 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 06:20
#8.1 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-04-08 07:16
Once again, jus what IS the American thing? Are we not a diverse culture? Does Ford slap a Chevy sticker on their cars? Advertising must matter!
#8.2 Antionymous on 2009-04-08 07:50
Look people, let's really understand something. We are ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS! Not Roman Catholics under Eastern Jurisdiction or High Church Episcopalians. To heck with the beard and hair, that is a personal choice. But the cassock and cross speaks of much more than, "Hey, I'm a priest! Look at me!" It speaks to what we believe and hold dear, and that, my friends, is exactly what the others (RC and Episcopalians, etc) are denying. I know the man in the cassock believes in the Truths of the Orthodox Faith. I know that the man in the cassock holds life sacred. I know that the man in the cassock struggles like I do to make ends meet for his family. I know that the man in the cassock has chosen to be where he is because he believes and is not held in place by the pension plan or his good salary. I know that the man in the cassock is not seeking to "fit in" but is seeking to "call out" as his Lord called him out. I know that the man in the cassock is seeking to be light and salt. The man in the cassock is saying to all the world "Jesus is Lord!" And no, I don't think the same about the man, who is unknown to me, when I see him in a suit and collar. Because I have and do know too many of them who are pro-abortion, deny the basic biblical truths of the Christian faith, who hold political opinions more dear than what little biblical truth they do subscribe to, and who convienently go into hiding (street clothes) when they just don't want to be bothered on a good night out.
As Jesus said, if you are ashamed of Me...guess what.
An OCA Priest whose cassock and cross are his street clothes and who daily is mocked and who daily encounters those who are grateful to see a sign of the presence of goodness and sanctity.
#8.3 An OCA Priest on 2009-04-08 08:07
Amen, Father, except to the part about beards. Orthodox clergy wear beards because (a) God made men to have beards, (b) Our Lord Himself, whom we are to “icon,” wore a beard, and (c) it is the longstanding tradition of Orthodox Church that its clergy wear beards, in recognition of (a) and (b), although, admittedly, it is the longstanding tradition of the West that its clergy do not.
That said, it is perhaps a problem for our brothers of Arab descent that beards and cassocks make them look Muslim. Wearing a large, obviously Christian pectoral cross would help, but some people might still see only the beard and the robe. On the other hand, those of us of English, Irish, or other Western European descent will certainly be mistaken for Roman Catholics if we shave our faces and don “the collar,” and that is also something to be avoided.
#8.3.1 Dn. Patrick Mitchell on 2009-04-08 10:37
Very melodramatic. The cassock is not the sign of a priest. Go to the Mideast and see that men wear the "cassock" as normal outer garb. It is cultural. In North America, our outer garb is a suit - like it or not. If you're looking to attract attention, put gold sparkles on your black cassock and dye your beard bright orange!
#8.3.2 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 11:02
Please. I know Antiochian priests in the North East USA who wear cassocks and also support the normalization of homosexual behavior, gay marriage and abortion - and King Philip knows about these things and does nothing about them. These are things I have seen with my own eyes. This is eyewitness testimony, not gossip.
The fact that someone has been ordained a priest and wears a cassock tells you nothing about what they believe, especially in the Antiochian world.
#8.3.3 Anonymous on 2009-04-10 07:01
#8.4 Fr Michael Spainhoward on 2009-04-08 08:14
You say this because you belong to a certain economic/social/education class that values shaved beards, and short hair "collars", etc. If you were of a different economic/social and probably ethnic group you would value something else.
At the core of this issue is, again, a misunderstanding or a limited understanding of it means to be American. Those who want to impose the typical RC clerical appearance (and a strict English/American only ideology) cannot grasp that America is much more diverse in its styles and languages. I can understand that in the past there was a desire to look like American Christian clergy, but that was at a time when the majority of Christian clergy wore destinctive clerical attire. Now, with the explosion of diversity, and great shifts with christian denominations is impossible to say this or that is standard American clerical attire.
#8.5 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 09:31
Okay, anonymous. I was born in 1953, in Great Falls, Montana, of pioneer stock who had come west from Missouri in the 1880's. I love football and Elvis, and fly a "Don't tread on me!" flag on national holidays. Guns do not frighten me. i speak my piece without fear. Is that American enough for you? I have a longish white beard and longish white hair, which shall, in a few months, be a pony tail. What gives you, anonymous, the power to decree what Americans should look like when you, braveheart, cannot even summon up the courage to use your name?
#8.6 Scott Walker on 2009-04-08 12:18
But your brand of American is only a piece of the American pie. What do you know about growing up in a ghetto with crappy schools, slangers on each corner. Or what do you know about the rural migrant farmers who have no permanent place to lay their heads traveling from region to region following the crops. They are just as American as you, but what do you know of that experience? That is what I'm trying to say. I'm not saying you are not American. I'm just sayin America is much bigger and diverse than one individual "culture's" expression of it. I'm also saying that one lone expression of American culture should not dictate to the rest of American's what is propper and not propper. You're American, Scott. I'm American. We're different we speak different languages, we dress different, we eat different, we relate to others differently, we like different music, joke differently. But those differences don't make us less American.
Does that make sense, or am I spinning my tires?
#8.6.1 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 15:43
You're not the "anonymous" I was responding to. It was the fellow farther upthread who was presuming to dictate what the proper American appearance should be. I get your point, friend, and agree. But you must admit that it becomes very difficult to sort which anonymous is which, out of maybe twenty or so on a long thread. If you can't use your name, could you at least come up with a handle, just to reduce the confusion?
#126.96.36.199 Scott Walker on 2009-04-09 11:17
Exactly - you're a convert. And you believe you have to dress and look like your from 18th century Russia to be Orthodox. Exactly my point. Orthodoxy comes into a culture and adapts to that culture. Orthodoxy does not come into a culture and impose other cultural norms. Read Florovsky regarding society and culture with Orthodox context!
#8.6.2 Anonymous on 2009-04-09 08:42
The membership of the Order of St. Ignatius includes converts and cradles, cassock-wearers and non-cassock-wearers. The common denominator is that they can afford annual dues of $560-$1060 or a lifetime membership of $15,000.
If (like "Sitti") members of the Order start cancelling their annual dues, this will get Metropolitan PHILIP's attention quickly.
Membes who cancel their annual dues should contact the Archdiocese, by phone and by letter or e-mail to explain why they are cancelling their dues.
#9 Jimmy the Greek on 2009-04-08 07:58
This is so silly, like listening to lil girls playing. Ladies and men, IF you are not a priest, monk, or clergy- Don't worry about what they wear- YOU are not wearing it, let them be. You do not have to try to start a war of 'spitting words that hit like the whips, that poke like the thorns, and spear to the side.' Our priests are going to be preparing Holy Pascha soon, they don't need this- no one does. Forgive me.
#10 only the lowly on 2009-04-08 09:22
Amen. And,there is nothing to forgive brother, you are right on!
#10.1 Carl on 2009-04-08 16:31
Is this the Christian war that the Revelations speak off,
Christians will be against christians, brothers against brothers, sons against fathers etc.
Man are we at the end of this world>
You all Clergy of the theology please answer me this question, are we facing the end, and if so, should we not be getting ready for Christ return than this back and forth of the clergy and bishops.....
(editor's note: In answer to your question: No.
That does not mean we should not always be prepared for the return of Christ, as if it were in the coming moment.)
#10.2 Anonymous on 2009-04-08 18:10
From the writings of the holy hierarch, Bishop Augoustine Kantiotes:
“In Turkey, where Christianity is hated with a passion, the cassock was forbidden after the Asia Minor calamity (1922). The only exception is the Patriarch who can wear his cassock when he leaves the Patriarchate. In this way the Turks wanted to get revenge against the Orthodox Church because they knew very well that it was the clergy that held the people together for 400 years and did not allow the memory of the nation to die, not just Greece but in the other Balkan nations. The Turks hate priests; they even hate the cassock; it is like seeing the Greek flag. And in reality it was the cassock and the Greek soldier’s uniform from which the Greek flag was made!"
#11 Moses on 2009-04-08 14:49
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