St John of Kronstadt has a beard as most Orthodox Clergy wear beards, including myself.
“The simple reason why Orthodox priests wear beards is because, as a Nazarene, Our Lord had a beard, as can be seen from any icon. Since the priest is a dispenser of sacramental grace and an icon of Christ, he should physically resemble Our Lord, not only in wearing a robe or cassock (which need not at all be black, contrary to popular myth), but also in being bearded and having the same hairstyle (long hair with a parting down the middle). Sometimes this is not possible, especially if the priest has to do a secular job (and also if the priest’s wife objects to long hair and untrimmed beard!) … In conclusion it can thus be said that the wearing of beard and long hair by Orthodox clergy, wherever it is possible, has come from the desire to physically resemble Christ. It is to be hoped that this physical resemblance is but a symbol of the spiritual resemblance of Christ’s humility, which is the aim of our life.” (states A. S., Durham, Excerpt from: Volume 2 Issue 2 Date 1st December 1998, Orthodox England on the net”)
There are several church Canons, rules and traditions regarding a Priest sporting a beard. The 16th rule for the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad says: “A priest, who is fully supported by his parish, and is given the opportunity not to work at a secular job, should have the appearance of an Orthodox priest, that is, should have long hair, a beard, a riasa, wear a cross of a proper style, and not one he has thought of himself and in his external appearance fully exemplify a true pastor.”
I for one am like most Priest and am not fully supported by the Parish I am the Assistant Pastor at. I do not work a secular job though, thus long hair and a beard are part of my being a Russian Priest; Oh and my Matushka does not object! We must remember that if the Church canons and laws were not important, the Church would not have written them.
Want to read some blogs about Orthodox beards? Check out these bloggers. Today is the first day of Fr. John Peck’s 40 Days of Blogging challenge, and that’s right . . . the topic of the day is beards.