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Πέμπτη, 28 Ιουνίου 2018

Q: What is our Church's view on tattooing and body piercing?



A:  This is a very good question because it seems that people of every age and background are experiencing the sudden allure of tattoos and body piercing.

The word tattoo is derived from the Tahitian word tatay, meaning "to inflict wounds," and was a form of self-mutilation practiced in association with either the death of a loved one or as a rite of passage at puberty. Body piercing and tattoos were common amongst many pagan cultures – even as far back as 5,000 years ago – until they were formally banned by the early Christian Church because it was considered to be a desecration of the body. Yet even before this, the Hebrews were cautioned by God against this blatant pagan practice. In the Book of Leviticus, God tells the people: "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you" (Lev. 19:28). It just doesn't get any planner than this.

In First Corinthians 6:19-20, Saint Paul teaches: "Do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." Therefore, if our body is not our own, but God's, then we should make every effort to protect it and maintain it undefiled and pure. We must make every effort to treat our bodies as a temple and dwelling place of His glory.

Many young people will claim that it is their individual right to use their bodies to make fashion and/or personality statements with ink and metal. However, God has called us to a much higher fashion: to be "ambassadors for Christ" and to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God…and do not be conformed to this world" (Romans 12:1-2).

Christians, therefore, should not transform themselves according to the latest whims and fads of society, but rather conform to and abide by the will of God. Instead of using our bodies for artistic expression, make an expression of faith by maintaining your body pure, spotless, and undefiled as a true example of something which is much more than just skin deep!

Fr. John

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