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Clothes and the Fallacy of Apostolic Tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church

This is a little bit of a straw man, but I was thinking about it, so I thought I
would post it to see what your thoughts are.
The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that they hold to the traditions of the Apost
les, and that we should listen to Clothes
and the Fallacy of Apostolic Tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Churchthem becaus
e they are pure and undefiled from the world.
But is that true? One simple way to show that Orthodox tradition has changed is
to take a look at the clothes that their
priests are required to wear because they are not the same as they have always b
een. In fact, they have changed quite a bit
(and even are different now based on region), [1] and few of these ornate clothe
s or their symbolism really existed until
after Christianity was “standardized” during the age of Constantine.[2] Far from bei
ng an Apostolic tradition, they made up
their own tradition, and now hold to it as though it was directly from God. Thei
r clothes are based on the tradition of men,
not of God. If they can’t even get their clothes right, why should we believe they
have anything else right?
“CHRISTIAN CHURCH VESTMENTS were not inherited from any other religion, but gradua
lly evolved out of the ordinary dress of
the elite in the Roman Empire. In those first days of Christianity the clergy pr
esided in their ordinary clothing, although
no doubt more costly and beautiful garments were used. The Church, therefore, di
d not invent vestments. Instead it simply
retained some of the gracious and ample vesture once worn by the upper classes.
As time went on and fashions changed,
the Church kept the original styles, thus reflecting a feeling common to most re
ligions that special clothing be used for
ceremonial occasions.”[3]
I don’t claim to have everything right, so saying I have one part of my theology w
rong doesn’t hurt me, but rather
would make me want to search the Scriptures more so that I may test to see wheth
er my belief is based on truth or not.
But because the Orthodox Church claims they have everything right, since I can p
rove they don’t have their clothes right
(their tradition has changed, and yet they require their priests to conform to w
earing certain vestments, or special
clothing), I can prove that they are false in their claim of pure Apostolic trad
ition. If certain clothes are required by
tradition, someone in the Orthodox Church is wrong, and they should find out who
(is it the Greeks, the Russians?),
so that they can return to the truth. But I believe they are wrong altogether – th
e Apostles did NOT wear the same ornate
clothes that they now wear,[4] and neither should we be required to.
[1] “Orthodoxy’s Liturgical Vestment Colors,”
[2] “The rise of Byzantium and the close relationship of the Church and State had
a marked influence on the further development of Orthodox vestments which have e
ssentially remained in the same form up to this day The mitre, for example,-worn
by all those in the episcopal office-is modeled after the crown of the Byzantin

com/2006/ 07/on-origins-and-development-of. Part I: Origins. MG Says: May 24.roca. The Origin of Vestments.” Shawn Tribe. 2008 at 6:57 am Thank you so much for posting this. the dress of the priests and clerics of the Church did not and gradually became more and more distinct from secular f ashions.html. phil Says: May 2008 at 9:28 am and is filed under The East ern Orthodox Church.” . [4] “As time moved on. Says: May 8. and fashions changed.blogspot. The Origin of Eastern Orthodox Clothes. . are you keeping in mind the distinction betwe en the *content* of an idea or teaching.” http://thenewliturgicalmovement. 2008 at 3:04 am Nathan and Phil– As you make these arguments.byzantines. Vestments .” . Calling the men “father” and proclaiming some “patriarchs” further evolves from th e words of Jesus in Matthew 23:7-10. Tradition verses Scripture.” http://www. 3. who had neither silver nor gold nor were interested in regal vestments showing t heir honor and grandeur. . eastern orthodox vestments. This entry was posted on February 1. “The New Liturgical Movement: On the Origins and Development of Vestments. Any other information you have about the Orthodox church might be really helpful. 2008 at 7:10 am It is so very easy to be a frog in the kettle who is unaware of change.“T he Symbolism of Vestments. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2. We are often blind to our own baggage. It is clear the Orthodox of today are reall y much different from the einfo/vestments.Byzantine Liturgical Vestments.It is highly unlikely that it was modeled after the Old Testament m itre since it was not adopted by bishops of the Church until the 15th century. not tradition). Th e vestments show a deeper blindness to the changes one makes over time. or trackback from your own site. Chara W.e emperors.0 feed. My sister announced recently that she was leaving the church we grew up in for the Orthodox church and so far we haven’t really found a lot of ways to ta lk to her about it since we have very little common ground (we grew up believing that the Bible was the ultima te authority. 9 Responses to “Clothes and the Fallacy of Apostolic Tradition in the Eastern Orth odox Church” 1.htm. You can leave a response. 4. 2008 at 10:37 am Very interesting! We’ll see what develops here… 2. Lee Says: February 2. [3] “Byzantines.

and the *way that content is articulated or expressed*? Do you think tha t once this distinction is introduced. 2008 at 8:58 am Dear Phil. 6. this challenges the validity of your argument? Also. If you need a Christianity that is closer to the one when the Apostles lived then you would take off your s hoes and not have any exra clothes with you except for one cloak and one staff. Perhaps a rebellion from within us is needed? http://www. Orthodox Individual Says: June 11. How far away we all live from this reality? I constantly think to myself. 2008 at 6:00 pm Nathan– You wrote: . are you saying that Christian leaders shouldn’t be called “father” or use “father/son” language to describe their relationships? Thanks guys 5. as do all the ornaments. Phil– Could you clarify. Christianity is not the same as it used to be. 2008 at 11:21 am Hi MG. made up a fter the apostles death. MG Says: June 19. they have actually morphed quite a bit.html Regards Orthodox Individual 7. and it just shows that none of that existed in the early church and yet the Eastern Orthodox puts high value on it. Why do they put such high value on something that has nothing to do with actual early church tradition? Because. You would not care about your clothe s or anyone elses for that matter becuase every day could be your last. nathanwells Says: June 6. I believe. You are right about one thing.deathtotheworld. they are the traditions of men. Yes. The clothes actually have a real ly big part in the service. I only am pointing out that while Eastern Orthodoxy claims to do thin gs the same way the early church did. etc. Your only care would be to spread the word of God and to help those who need you the most.

the same as authority) If so. however. but does not change the content. it promotes repentance.“Why put such high value on something that has nothing to do with actual ear ly church tradition?” I think this is the same as asking “why put such high value on the English l anguage. the priest is an image of Christ. its the way the content is expressed that is different. Kim Says: July 18. 9. I don’t see this in a negative way. then the fact that today’s vestments are not wh at they always were does not necessarily imply that Orthodoxy has changed or corrupted Church Tradition. As Orthodoxy spread between dif ferent countries. So if vestments are part of cultural contextuali zation. The clothes that .First of all. The way Divine Liturgy is performed has probably slightly changed. how would this relate to the accusation th at Orthodoxy teaches the traditions of men? 8. Here’s something I’ve been wondering: do you think that if Protestantism is tr ue. If we make this distinction. not the “matter”. At least. 2008 at 12:19 pm Dear Brother in Christ. Cultural contextualization shapes the way content is articulated. it glorifies God. the dress of priesthood probably changed. But i t seems obvious that clothing-types are part of the “form”. an interaction between the faithful and the local environment created different local tradition s. not just the way it is articulated. You do raise valid points. 2008 at 8:37 am You might consider doing more research into what the Orthodox believe rega rding tradition (things they do that don’t really impact the doctrine of the church) and Tradition (the Faith hande d down from the Apostles). What is important. an object of respect because of his holiness) then this seems valid. that each person’s interpretation of the Bible is just as fallible and non-authoritative as everyone else’s? (b earing in mind that some people use better exegetical methodology. and they articulate the same content as is always taught by the Church (ie. Like you say. considering that the early church didn’t use it?” The content is the same in an Orthodox service as it has alw ays been. you would have to prove that the t ypes of garments worn are part of the content of Christian teaching. is that Orthodox tradition is holy. Orthodox Says: July 5. However. and hence have a higher probability of correctly interpreting – which is not. that the traditions of the Orthodox church did change slightly over the course of the years. it is now expressed in many different languages. Similarly the content of the Bible is the s ame now as it always was. So if my distinction is valid (and I think that the example of bible translations establishes this) then I don’t think the acc usation that Orthodoxy teaches the traditions of men is sound. I would like to acknowledge.

The vestments and other beautiful items inside Orthodox churches are not p art of the belief system. . That things have changed in the world since the time of the apostles is evident.the priest wear are not part of the Tradition and aren’t essential to the Apostolic faith. they’re a tool that believers use to adorn the churches out of love. The basis of Orthodox apostolic tradition isn’t based on some rigid. they use cars to drive aro und in now and build churches of modern building materials. lega listic argument that every single detail of the Church has remained unchanged (I mean. including the cl othes that people wear and the way they talk. does that mean their teachings are false?). Just as hanging a child’s drawing on your refrigerator doesn’t change the nature of the food within. decorations inside the church don’t change the church’s understanding of the nature of Christ.