Darlene Griffith wrote:
Father, what is a bowler hat? Do you mean to say here that Archbishop (St) Tikhon wore street(lay) clothes instead of clerical garb when not performing liturgical/clerical functions?
It's a kind of hat that was very popular in the late 19th- early 20thc in N America. Whether he was wearing a ryassa underneath the overcoat I no longer remember. What I do recall is that the overall look when 'out in society' was of a typical properly or presentably dressed man of that period. In other words quite different from how he would have likely appeared in public in Russia- ryassa only and panagia. I'm not sure but it could be that he had in mind Anglican clergy as rôle models for how to appear in public.
I'll answer the following in terms of what I do (note that in our jurisdiction 'clerical garb' as a minimum means ryassa & cross):
1. At parish picnics- yes, always
2. Working in the parish office- yes, always
3. Visiting parishioners in their homes (not a house blessing)- yes, always
4. Going with parishioners to places of amusement/entertainment such as baseball games, concerts, amusement parks, movies- it depends; some settings are actually spiritually painful to wear a robe; eg I once was invited to a parishioner's dacha but then I was taken to the beach (painful, very painful)
5. Eating out at restaurants with members of the parish- most times
6. Fund raisers conducted on the church property, such as yard sales, festivals, or any other kind of function to raise money- yes, always
7. Church tours open to the public- yes, always
8. Bible studies/studies on the Orthodox faith conducted on the church property- yes, always
9. Counseling (not confession) with parishioners on church property (either in the church or parish hall)- yes, always
10. Attending weddings, funerals at other Orthodox parishes but not the priest conducting the service- yes, always
11. Attending weddings, funerals at non-Orthodox churches- most always
Note that the above is a combination as it often is for priests, of what clergy have previously done in that parish and in that diocese. A monk priest for example in a purely monastic setting will do one thing and which is proper and obedient, but then make certain adjustments for pastoral reasons (for his people's and his own) if in a parish. For example what I try to follow in this parish in terms of dress, and overall rule, is very similar to what every monk priest before me has done here in our parish. In doing this we have to remember that the priest is not only a model for his people- he also needs to be able to reach out to them as one of them as it were. Again, I have been with senior priests of our own jurisdiction (which is usually characterized as 'traditional') when they visited with parishioners or went to restaurants in lay clothes. In these cases I was in a robe- but it didn't bother me what these priests did. In certain settings a priest wants to be a bit more informal- and the Lord knows that I certainly do the same in my own way in certain settings.
In addition, couldn't some pastoral roles require the priest to be in the "midst of civil society?" For example, when visiting a parishioner in the hospital, the priest would be performing a pastoral role in the midst of civil society. So, in this case, would he wear clerical garb or lay clothes? Or doesn't it really matter?
I always appear in ryassa and cross when visiting my people in the hospital. Note that the priest often arrives with the Body & Blood in order to give communion to the sick.
I'm inquisitive and interested in this subject having come from an Evangelical Protestant background where pastors preferred not to distinguish themselves by their clothing, whether in a pastoral setting or any other setting for that matter. The Protestant teaching on the priesthood of all believers being central, many Protestant pastors (specifically Evangelical) want to convey the message to their congregation: "Hey, I'm just like one of you. We're all priests and we all have the calling to minister." So, the idea of a pastor dressing differently than the rest of the congregation (the term laity was strongly frowned upon) was regarded negatively and as unnecessary, and often offensive and unscriptural. This trend has become more and more popular in Evangelical circles so that many pastors are now preferring to dress down in jeans and T-shirts, or hawaiian shirts and shorts, veering away from the more conservative suit.
For us, the priest must appear as a priest. I still recall so clearly the first visit my parish priest made me at home. I don't remember a word that he said to me- but the image of his 'shape' if I can put it that way, in his ryassa and cross, was so powerful that that was all that was really needed. So, if the priest doesn't appear outwardly different he should still at least be as a priest in bearing.