Riassa, Etc: Time Out

time-outAs much as I love reading the arguments proffered here on this blog, there comes a time when a certain subject matter has run its course. The recent exchange on the proper attire of Orthodox priests between two of our most prolific correspondents has approached that point. While I tend to agree with the traditionalist view regarding beards and cassocks, I in no means think that that is the hallmark of Orthodoxy. At best it’s a secondary issue. More likely it’s tertiary.

I see the wisdom of the more expansive view as well and in the exchange between these to men I have learned a lot. I pray you have as well. But now we’re at the point of diminishing returns and would ask both men to cease and desist from further commentary on this issues. In furtherance of this diktat, I will consign any further comments along theses lines –from anybody for that matter–to the spam folder.

I take this time to inform our readers so that nobody sends me any more comments dealing with this issue as they will likewise end up in the spam folder. It pains me to do this because of the all the thoughtful arguments proffered and I hope both men forgive me.

Thank you,


About GShep


  1. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    You are right. There is such a thing as beating a dead horse. I apologize if I overreacted to some of the personal criticisms questioning my commitment to Orthodoxy.

  2. Christopher William McAvoy says

    What people wear distinguishes their role. Much of the revolution of 1920’s/1960’s/70’s was against traditional roles for various classes, peoples, cultures, professions. Everything traditional to better establish peoples roles and who they are is on the rise. One may notice many younger priests of Roman Catholic dioceses in the USA wearing cassocks more often this decade. Roman Catholics priests in the future are likely to return to wearing cassocks as normal attire. I doubt that the Orthodox Church will be far behind if that should come to pass, It already retains them more often today. Given the other things of importance this subject is not high on list of relevance, but symbols are important.

  3. Peter Proboscis says

    The saintly, Archbp then Patriarch Tikhon said it well. He insisted that Orthodox clerics in North America dress in Western clothes; not to parade around in public in cassocks and riasas. Not to wear clerical garments in the streets. To cut ones hair and trim beards. Why, because he realized that North America was not Russia of 1800 nor Greece nor the Mideast. He realized what Lossky wrote about regarding Orthodoxy & culture. Orthodoxy is the Truth and therefore can adapt to any culture. We are North Americans who believe the Orthodox Faith; not 18th century Russians, Greeks or Arabs. Very silly parading around in public in pony-tails, weird hats, long beards and cassocks. Truly showing a phony facade.

    • “he realized that North America was not Russia of 1800 nor Greece nor the Mideast.”

      America of the 21st century is also not America at the beginning of the 20th century. What may have turned people away at that time (cassocks, beards, etc.) may be what attracts attention and generates interest in our time. The various denominations are all in sharp decline now compared to those days. Many people are frustrated with “American religion” and are looking for something more spiritual, more deep, more authentic. Conversion to Orthodoxy in those days was rather uncommon, and churches were then even more ethnocentric then now. “Fitting in” to some extent so as to be accepted into the religious landscape of America could have perhaps been justified then. Now, conversion to Orthodoxy in America is much more viable than then, so perhaps it is time for clergy to stand out a bit more by embracing the traditional dress and beard. Our society is far less likely to have their feathers ruffled at such a site than in the early 1900s when St. Tikhon was here.