Metropolitan Korniliy, the high priest of the Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church, is calling on men not to shave their beards, arguing that facial hair offers protection against homosexuality.
“God gave us rules: it is written that the Lord created all [men] with beards. This concept has completely disappeared in the Catholic West, and yet it’s [true] beyond any doubt. After all, in our icons it is impossible for us to imagine Christ or any other saint without a beard. Mankind should not resist his own Creator. This is where sodomy comes from: the always changing men’s fashions and hairstyles,” Korniliy said in a recent interview.
Roman Atorin, a spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church, also pointed out that shaving one’s beard “is a departure from the sacred and holy,” recalling how Peter I imposed a beard tax in 1698, leading to resistance from Russians who considered male facial hair to be a religious obligation.
Last month, President Putin traveled to the Rogozhskaya Zastava Spiritual Center in Moscow, making him the first Russian leader in 350 years to visit with Old Believers. The Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church is a branch of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, born from a schism within the Russian Orthodox Church following the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Nikon in the second half of the 17th century.
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