Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thinking about Duck Dynasty Beards at my 144th Visit

Will the real Phil Robinson, please stand up?
Fr. Gary and a small crew from the parish, including Jim Martin, are away for the week for Project Mexico so Fr. Sergio stepped in to lead us in Vespers.  I noticed another clergyman in the Sanctuary and I knew right away he was a deacon because he had a censor and walked out the royal doors to sense the people and the icons.  And he was beardless! Scandalous! :)

That got me thinking about beards and the Orthodox. Why are beards such a big part of Orthodoxy? Is it part of Holy Tradition or can that be relegated to small "t" tradition? In the Church of the Nazarene, the protestant denomination to which I belong, they make a big thing about birthdays of the Pastor. It is publicly acknowledged, there is a gift given to the pastor during the service and many times a "coffee hour" party to celebrate. But making a big deal about birthdays is not essential Nazarene doctrine. Can the same be said about beards and the Orthodox? I'd love to hear people's thoughts about this. I mean, to be really holy, does one really have to look like Phil Robinson of Duck Dynasty? I certainly hope not.

As the deacon began leading us in the prayers, I realized that the voice sounded an awful lot like our own Deacon Alexander. I think it was him but you know how some people look completely different when they shave off their beards? Well, it that was deacon Alexander than he'd be one of those people who look completely different. If he did have to shave it off, I wonder why? I didn't get a chance to stay after Vespers to talk to anyone so I guess I'll have to wait till next week to find out.

I remember one of my facebook friends (or, former, for some reason he unfriended me....but I'm not bitter :) )....He is a convert to Orthodoxy, from Judaism and he had a full beard. He shaved it off and lamented that "for some reason you can't get a job around here unless you are a shaved down pagan" So, I see that beards are a big thing in Orthodoxy and highly treasured. I'd love to know why so please comment below.

Deacon (Alexander?) gave the homily and it was excellent. He talked about the contrast between light and darkness and how that is made much of during the feast of the Transfiguration. He quoted:

On the mount Thou was transfigured, and Thy disciples, as much as they could bear, beheld Thy glory, O Christ our God; so that, when they would see Thee crucified, they would know Thy passion to be willing and would preach to the world that Thou, in truth, are the Effulgence of the Father.

All and all, a great service and I was happy that I went especially since I contemplated staying home because it has been a rough week at work but making the effort was sure worth it. It is a job to worship God with His people.

Now, about those beards, please comment below.


  1. It's definitely traditional that Orthodox men wear beards. Here's a priest's collection of information about it:

    Peter the Great required that men who refused to shave pay a "beard tax" as part of his Westernizing reforms:

    And,lastly, a dear friend and member of my parish has an Orthodox satire site. His take: :)

    1. love the articles, thanks....this is my favorite entry:
      Pastor George Trask of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, preaches against the “vain” (and rare) beard of congregant Joseph Palmer, and demands that he shave it off. When Trask denies Palmer Communion, Palmer grabs the chalice and drinks it anyway, shouting,

      “I love my Jesus as well, and better than any of you!”

      After he was jailed for fighting off attackers who tried to cut off his beard, Palmer (and his beard) became a New England cause célèbre.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed - the Onion Dome has provided many laughs indeed!

    1. Yes, it's very important to keep laughing!