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Orthodox Christians and Tattoos

Is it proper for an Orthodox Christian to get a tattoo?

  • It's fine, nothing wrong with it.

    Votes: 55 24.6%
  • They can if they want, but I wouldn't.

    Votes: 32 14.3%
  • Only in some circumstances.

    Votes: 32 14.3%
  • I don't think it's proper, no.

    Votes: 41 18.3%
  • It is absolutely, positively sinful!

    Votes: 17 7.6%
  • I'm not sure.

    Votes: 43 19.2%
  • None of the above.

    Votes: 4 1.8%

  • Total voters
    224

hecma925

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LivenotoneviL said:
I heard one SSPX priest give me a metaphor as to why it isn't proper and even sinful to get a tattoo, and I have held on to that interpretation since.

"Would you say that spray painting graffiti on a church building's exterior is morally acceptable, even if you graffiti an image of the Virgin Mary on the exterior? Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should honor the beauty with which God has given us - not ink it with our own artistic designs."

I wouldn't say that "this for sure is sinful" and tell a person to remove a tattoo if they want to receive Communion, but I wouldn't ever get a tattoo.

Plus, maybe I'm selfish, but I honestly don't find tattoos attractive.

I haven't bothered reading this thread all the way through, but if someone pointed it out, the Old Testament condemns tattoos - but one can argue that tattoos were used in conjunction with voodoo, which is the primary cause of its condemnation. The New Testament tends to be more silent on tattoos.

I personally disagree with voodoo being the ONLY reason it was condemned, but that is simply an opinion.
Yeah, graffiti on the outside of the temple is worse than the sinfulness happening on the inside of it.
 

Porter ODoran

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^ As tho what one does to the outside doesn't come from the inside.
 

hecma925

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Take care of your temple.
 

hecma925

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Mor Ephrem said:
hecma925 said:
Take care of your temple.
My body is a pilgrimage center.  Come, all ye faithful!
I'm not going to your "Prayer Tower" or whatever Oral Roberts wants to call it.
 

LivenotoneviL

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hecma925 said:
From what I know (by Googling) the Old Testament condemns cutting images into one's flesh - but around that time period, as archaeological evidence suggests, the Canaanites would tattoo images of their favorite gods as a symbol of veneration - something which, given the historical context, is an argument given that at that time period that was what tattooing was primarily used for - paganism.

That's the view of those who believe that tattoos are okay, especially given the Mosaic works of the Law being abrogated.
 

LivenotoneviL

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Cognomen said:
I wouldn't say that "this for sure is sinful" and tell a person to remove a tattoo if they want to receive Communion...
How magnanimous of you.
Ok, too extreme. How about I wouldn't tell a person who has a tattoo is sinning.

I was trying to be hyperbolic.
 

hecma925

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LivenotoneviL said:
hecma925 said:
From what I know (by Googling) the Old Testament condemns cutting images into one's flesh - but around that time period, as archaeological evidence suggests, the Canaanites would tattoo images of their favorite gods as a symbol of veneration - something which, given the historical context, is an argument given that at that time period that was what tattooing was primarily used for - paganism.

That's the view of those who believe that tattoos are okay, especially given the Mosaic works of the Law being abrogated.
In Leviticus 19, it's clear that the Hebrews were to be a nation completely set apart from others in the Promised Land.  No cuttings for the dead and no marks.  In Leviticus 21, prohibition against cutting of the flesh is in the same context as shaving your head or corners of the beard.  If that is applicable, then the rest of Law should be as well.  Or can we pick and choose?


Anyway, I think cutting has more to do with self-mutilation in worship (or for the dead) as the Baal worshipers did in I Kings 18 when Elijah laid the holy smackdown on them.
 

ComingofAge

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LivenotoneviL said:
I heard one SSPX priest give me a metaphor as to why it isn't proper and even sinful to get a tattoo, and I have held on to that interpretation since.

"Would you say that spray painting graffiti on a church building's exterior is morally acceptable, even if you graffiti an image of the Virgin Mary on the exterior? Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should honor the beauty with which God has given us - not ink it with our own artistic designs."
I see where you are going with that and I agree that we shouldn't tattoo ourselves, but think about how many images we have in the Church. The Church is full of images, so I don't think this is that great of an analogy.
 

hecma925

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Agabus

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I'd be OK with getting ink if only I could think of something I wanted on me forever.

Ain't found it yet.
 

Dominika

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Agabus said:
I'd be OK with getting ink if only I could think of something I wanted on me forever.

Ain't found it yet.
I'd like to have the first sentence of the Epistle reading for Transfiguration (""Give diligence all the more to make your calling and election sure" more or less) in Arabic calligraphy. i think on back, so that someteims it's visible and soemtiems not.
But I'm not 100% sure and above all, my priest wouldn't agree. But I must ask him. Plus, since I don't have a boyfriend, it's a riskt that a potential husband wouldn't like it.
 

IXOYE

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Agabus said:
I'd be OK with getting ink if only I could think of something I wanted on me forever.

Ain't found it yet.
Right.  I definitely would not.  I could not fathom the forever part.
 

DeniseDenise

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Unverifiable, so irrelevant
its also national Emoticon day....

 

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ironchapman

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The only type of tattoo I could personally justify getting to either myself or anyone else would be one of these:

http://razzouktattoo.com/

And I could only justify it for myself if it was done in such a way as they do. I'm not sold on it myself, either.

That's just concerning what I would put on my body. It's none of my business what you put on yours, and I'm not convinced it's universally wrong. However, I'm not sure why a Christian would want to have a number of common tattoo motifs on his or her body. Religious symbols or the name(s) of loved ones i can understand.
 

ironchapman

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There's a fascinating write-up on the history of the Razzouk family, Christian tattoos in the Holy Land, and tattooing traditions that emerged in certain Christian cultures such as the Celts.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/holy-tattoo-a-700-year-old-christian-tradition-thrives-in-jerusalem-68723
 

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Thank you ironchapman for these interesting links!
 

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Going to get knuckle tattoos.  "SOUL" on the right and "BODY" on the left.
 

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hecma925 said:
Going to get knuckle tattoos.  "SOUL" on the right and "BODY" on the left.
You are not far from the kingdom of God!
 

hecma925

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Asteriktos said:
hecma925 said:
Going to get knuckle tattoos.  "SOUL" on the right and "BODY" on the left.
You are not far from the kingdom of God!
It will help with pre-communion prayers and as a reminder to cross my arms right over left when going to receive.
 

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hecma925 said:
Asteriktos said:
hecma925 said:
Going to get knuckle tattoos.  "SOUL" on the right and "BODY" on the left.
You are not far from the kingdom of God!
It will help with pre-communion prayers and as a reminder to cross my arms right over left when going to receive.
Also, when we get a blessing and kiss the hand of the clergyman, and put our right hand over our left, these tats would serve as an acknowledgement that our soul is within our body, refuting with brilliant simplicty the new-age-y idea of the soul floating around willy nilly. I had thought that my next tattoo would be the word "NOUS" placed at the base of my neck, but you have me rethinking things!
 

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Asteriktos said:
hecma925 said:
Asteriktos said:
hecma925 said:
Going to get knuckle tattoos.  "SOUL" on the right and "BODY" on the left.
You are not far from the kingdom of God!
It will help with pre-communion prayers and as a reminder to cross my arms right over left when going to receive.
Also, when we get a blessing and kiss the hand of the clergyman, and put our right hand over our left, these tats would serve as an acknowledgement that our soul is within our body, refuting with brilliant simplicty the new-age-y idea of the soul floating around willy nilly. I had thought that my next tattoo would be the word "NOUS" placed at the base of my neck, but you have me rethinking things!
Alpha'd!
 

hecma925

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Hmmm, "NOUS" over the heart sounds like an idea.  And the word is the roots of a tree, guarded by two cherubim with flaming swords.
 

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hecma925 said:
Hmmm, "NOUS" over the heart sounds like an idea.  And the word is the roots of a tree, guarded by two cherubim with flaming swords.
Just make sure you don't ever develop gynecomastia. The Cherubim might crash into each other.
 

hecma925

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Volnutt said:
hecma925 said:
Hmmm, "NOUS" over the heart sounds like an idea.  And the word is the roots of a tree, guarded by two cherubim with flaming swords.
Just make sure you don't ever develop gynecomastia. The Cherubim might crash into each other.
No one can make sure of that.  In the event it does happen, I would have the skin cut out and preserved.
(Linked article may be a bit macabre to sensitive readers)
https://www.cvltnation.com/dead-skin-living-art-the-museum-of-tattooed-skin/
 

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hecma925

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Also thinking of the Holy Face icon on the top of my right hand and the Theotokos of Kazan on my left hand.  I'll always have icons for prayer.
 

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Not wanting to soung judgemental, but in general I find tattoos a narcissistic, self referential and attention seeking practice that doesn't add too much to someone's life than lifelong mark on the skin, and I find quite concerning how tattoos are becoming so widespread, accepted and even incentivated in several christian circles (not orthodox per se, protestant and catholic too).

I find coptic tattoos from the Razzouk family kinda cool tho.
 

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Lol, you didn't want to, but you did.
 

hecma925

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Not made by hands, but a needle.

 

Volnutt

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hecma925 said:
Not made by hands, but a needle.

Ever read Parker's Back by Flannery O'Connor?
 

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hecma925 said:
Not made by hands, but a needle.

What's that strange shape on Jesus Christ's forehead the tattoo would look better without it
 
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