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Clergy hair and beards


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#61 Reader Luke

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:48 PM

Just for the record, St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, was not a Bishop. 

 

As an officer in the Roman army under the command of Tetrarch (and then Emperor) Galerius Maximian , Demetrius became a Christian and imprisoned in Thessaloniki in 303, when Diocletian was emperor. According to tradition, from  the prison he blessed his disciple Nestor to defeat the heathen wrestler Lyaio. The victory of Nestor enraged Maximian who was present in stage. So, St Nestor was beheaded, and St Demetrius murdered  with a spear. They are both Christian martyrs.

 

St Demetrius is also patron saint of city of Thessaloniki.

 

Lakis, in my post, the link is preceded by the location of the icon, its approximate date and then a description. That icon is from St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki. It's an icon of St. Demetrios, but on one side is the Bishop of Thessaloniki.

 

 

 

Unsurprisingly. 

 

The early depictions of Christ as a beardless shepherd ought not to be taken as icons in the sense that that was subsequently understood.  They are not portraits of Christ but symbolical images.  Initially, it is likely that images were made to conform to the expectations of the people of the Greco-Roman world of the first and second centuries.  To say, though, that Orthodox bishops, indeed priests as well, did not have long hair until after 1453 does not seem at all right, and one can certainly see icons of the time of St Sergius and before of Russian saints which indicate this.  Olga, however, will no doubt answer for herself.

 

Yes, sadly, iconoclasm was effective. You even go into Hagia Sophia, and there are iconoclastic crosses on the ceilings, and the mosaics you see are all after iconoclasm.

 

Actually, if you look at all the images I posted, not all are of Christ as the Good Shepherd. He was universally depicted with no beard and short hair.



#62 Reader Luke

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 11:17 PM

More, somewhat later depictions of Bishops with beards, but without long hair:

 

St. Catherine Monastery, Calendar Icon from Jan to Feb with four Bishops, ca. 1000-1099: http://upload.wikime...1th_century.jpg

St. Catherine Monastery, Last Judgement Icon bishops are left of center, ca. 1150: http://upload.wikime...2th_century.jpg

St. Catherine Monastery, Ladder of Divine Ascent Bishop Antonios at top of ladder, ca. 1150-1199: http://upload.wikime...2th_century.jpg

Russian Icon, St. John Climacus with St. George & St. Blaise (the Bishop on the right), ca. 1200-1299: http://upload.wikime...zy_i_Błażej.jpg

St. Nicholas Church in Lipnya Novgorod, St. Nicholas, ca. 1294: http://upload.wikime...a_from_1294.jpg

Russian Icon, Dormition of Theotokos with two Bishops on either side, ca. 1392: http://upload.wikime...nus_uspenie.jpg

British Museum, Triumph of Orthodoxy with Patriarch on right, ca. 1375-1425: http://upload.wikime...h_orthodoxy.jpg

 

I have yet to find an icon prior to 1453 that shows a Bishop with long hair. Also, it is interesting to see that sometime after iconoclasm, the beards of Bishops did, in fact, get a lot longer.

 

However, I think we can attribute the long hair of our clergy both to the Turkish yoke, and the domination of monasticism among Bishops.

 

There is no problem with Bishops having short hair, and I have no problem with Priests & Deacons being clean-shaven. But since Bishops are "monks", a beard makes sense.


Edited by Devin B., 25 June 2013 - 11:19 PM.


#63 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 12:06 AM

This is rather off topic but I have always found it odd that later icons show early bishops such as St Nicholas of Myra wearing a mitre.



#64 Ben Johnson

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 05:24 PM

When I am at confession, standing in front of the icon of Christ, with my priest by my side, I do not worry if my priest has a beard or not.



#65 Ilya Zhitomirskiy

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:43 PM

When I am at confession, standing in front of the icon of Christ, with my priest by my side, I do not worry if my priest has a beard or not.

That makes sense. I just hope that he has some experience and is a God-fearing man. Even though  a priest's ability to grow a beard is secondary, the attention that a priest pays to maintaining the traditional appearance of a priest shows that he cares not only for external, but also for internal factors.



#66 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 05:54 PM

One inevitably supposes that a priest with a 'modernist' appearance has modernist attitudes.



#67 Geoffrey McKinney

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:01 PM

Generally speaking, the icons in my parish of saints from the Christian Roman Empire show them with short hair and trimmed, short beards. (St. Gregory [Palamas] of Thessaloniki is an exception, as he has a long beard.) The icons we have of Slavic saints generally show them with long hair and long beards.



#68 Kosta

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 05:09 AM

Isn't the description of St Basil the Great as a skinny tall man, partly balding but with a thick dark beard come from one of his contemporaries? 

 

I know in his monastic rule he prefers for a monk to live off the bare minimum and the same with the upkeep of the body. 



#69 Olga

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 05:26 AM

Isn't the description of St Basil the Great as a skinny tall man, partly balding but with a thick dark beard come from one of his contemporaries? 

 

I know in his monastic rule he prefers for a monk to live off the bare minimum and the same with the upkeep of the body. 

 

It was common practice for a verbal record of a prospective saint's physical appearance to be kept, partly for future reference by iconographers should that person be formally proclaimed a saint. The great consistency across centuries and geographic provenance of the iconographic depiction of a great many saints, even saints from the earliest centuries, is testament to this.



#70 Kosta

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 05:56 AM

From what Ive seen in the icons of the Sinai and such is that monks tend to be depicted with long beards as well as those that are advanced in age. Young men are depicted as beardless.

Thus most icons of the Apostle John (in the Transfiguration or standing next to the crucifixion with Mary for example) depicts him beardless as this was his younger days,  but is depicted with a long beard when he is shown advanced in age like when he is depicted writing his gospel or the Apocalypse.

The same with Moses, in icons depicting him receiving the 10 commandements he is depicted young and beardless but in his appearance in the Transfiguration or in an icon by himself as prophet-saint he is depicted older with a beard.  

 

Soldier or warrior saints are depicted beardless, the Apostle Phillip tends to be depicted beardless. St John the Baptist is always depicted with long hair and beard because he is an ascetic.  Byzantine Emperors seem to be mixed, many are beardless or will have a very short beard and hair. 


Edited by Kosta, 01 April 2015 - 05:58 AM.





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