Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Orthodox Church-backwards into the future

Look closely at this picture. What you see is a depository at the entrance of a Georgian church for skirts that has become obligatory for female visitors in some of the churches in Georgia. As a woman you are forced to wear one. You may wonder why, and I have no concrete answer. It is only one of many signs indicating that the Georgian Orthodox Church is heading into the past. I have on occations been asked to leave the church because my shorts were not appropriate to enter the house of God. They have also started to denie photographing inside some of the churches. Once a young clerc started to jump up and down in front of the camera, waving his hands to avoid me taking a photo. Now this obligatory female skirt prohibition in some churches is a more serious thing. It has the flavour of fundamentalism attached to it. Maybe it is a reaction to the modernizing of the Georgian society.

Having been travelling a lot in Georgia, the one thing I particulary appreciate is the Georgian hospitality. It is unique. It is sad to say that I, and many of the Georgians I have spoken with don't feel welcome in the Georgian churches. The contrast to the Georgian mentality is striking, and I really hope the Orthodox church changes it's direction, and don't end up in the fundamentalistic darkness of the middle age. But there seem to be two directions: One represented by young, less educated, and more fundamentalistic clercs/priests, and another more relaxed direction represented by the more reflected ''fathers''. As one, educated old priest answered me when he gave permission to photograph during his ceremony: ''God also loves photographers''. I guess it also should apply to women, and men in shorts.

8 Comments:

Blogger Iberian said...

It is really interesting why author considers rule of wearing skirts by women and pants for the men so dramatic. Following that logic since we go to the swimming pool almost naked, we make a tremendous step the 21st century and our mentality improves a lot.
Covering larger part of human body at the church by a piece of clothing has its practical implications. Every man experiences sexual desires in the public places and often in the church as well. Wearing long clothes is just a tribute to the other members of the church. It is important not to tempt others with you appearance and make them think of dirty things in the house of God.
The author should agree that at some point his/her comments are quite subjective. He/she claims that forcing women wear skirts "is only one of many signs indicating that the Georgian Orthodox Church is heading into the past". I would suggest the author to find out more about particular rules of conduct within the Orthodox church and only then judge whether the church is "heading into the past" or not.
One more thing that I would like to add is that if some photographers are strolling around Georgian mountains and taking photos of Georgian monastries, they should be well aware of the fact that these huge buildings were not build in order to serve as objects for photo-taking activities, but rather for entirely different reasons (such as worshiping God that may seem suprising for some) and instead of blaiming Orthodox Church in backwardness these individuals should be more obedient when entering house of God and comply the rules set by the church authorities.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 4:42:00 pm  
Blogger Writer'n said...

Thank you for your post. First of all, the idea behind assuming people are thinking of sex inside a church is absurd and middleaged in it's assumption. I regard the cloth-rules as fundamentalistic. Taking pictures inside churches is a way of communicating culture. And churches are in every culture a fundamental cornerstone. I assume you would agree with me that the Georgian Orthodox Church is of interest for the rest of the world, and not only for the few able to actually go inside them.

The fact that the large and important churches in Msketa, Nikortsminda in Racha, and Sameba in Tbilisi don't practice photoprohibition and obligatory skirts for women should speak for it self. I have also spoken with several priest about the issue, and what I present on my blog is based on those conversations.

Friday, July 20, 2007 2:27:00 pm  
Blogger Iberian said...

Quote: "Thank you for your post. First of all, the idea behind assuming people are thinking of sex inside a church is absurd and middleaged in it's assumption."
Why? Do you frankly believe that in 21st century people think only about Phylosophy and Quantum Physics? Or without taking a viagra pill a person can not think of sex? Maybe you also believe that having sexual desires is only middle-age phenomenon? Well, I can assure you that we "fundamentalists" still experience attraction to the opposite sex even in 21st century. This problem was in the church in the past too, therefore our wise ancestors chose to cover their skin with some clothing "to be on the safe side" :) This problem is present today as well and will be present always, until there are two different genders in the nature. I repeat: wearing long closing has its practical implications and one should not try to derive some subjective conclusions. Maybe it is hard to admit, but still....
Maybe you were asked not to take pictures in the church, because flash of the camera damages ancient icons on the wall of the church? Haven't you tried to ask those people who forbid you taking photos, why they did so? Maybe this is the case and not the closeness and fundamentalism of the church???

Friday, July 20, 2007 7:28:00 pm  
Blogger Writer'n said...

In the 21. century I imagine people would feel relieved from the media sex-pressure instead of thinking of sex when they see a couple of female legs from the knees and down. The danger is mi nimal I think

I am a professional photographer, and as such never use flash in churches, or any other place for that matter. Flash can be destructive regarding fresques and other paintings.

Friday, July 20, 2007 8:13:00 pm  
Blogger Iberian said...

Can't comment anything on the first paragraph of your comment.
I can just say that maybe it would have been better telling to the priests that you were not going to use flash. This could have solved the matter.

Friday, July 20, 2007 10:43:00 pm  
Blogger Writer'n said...

I can assure you that I have had that in mind, and told them that there would be no flash.

Anyway I am more worried about the skirt prohibition. Is straight jeans sexier than jeans with skirt? :)

I appreciate your views on the topic, and hope you will elaborate further on similar topics later.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 5:35:00 pm  
Blogger kennedy said...

It is really interesting why author considers rule of wearing skirts by women and pants for the men so dramatic. Following that logic since we go to the swimming pool almost naked, we make a tremendous step the 21st century and our mentality improves a lot.
=======================================
kenny

Georgia Drug Addiction

Friday, August 22, 2008 9:25:00 pm  
Blogger Eistein G. said...

Well, kennedy. I think your originality and creativity is rather limited. That was a quote from Iberian, the first commentator on this topic.

Friday, August 22, 2008 9:38:00 pm  

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