Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Disposing of Priestly Vestments
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Can you give away the priestly vestments and if you can’t is there a proper way to dispose of them?
The Lord first told Moses to construct a tabernacle and establish the priesthood. The priests were sanctified with holy oil and were instructed to produce holy garments (vestments) for the honor and glory of God when used in worship rituals.
In Isaiah 6 and Revelation 1, one gets a glimpse of God being worshiped in Heaven. Clergy attire is part of this “foreshadow” of Heaven and the spiritual edification of the Church. The vestments serve as a spiritual function, helping to bring the faithful into the atmosphere of understanding. Vestments are iconic representations of our Lord and the angels, serving at the one altar of God.
In Exodus 28: 2–39, garments for the priesthood are described in these 38 verses.
“Then, you shall make holy garments … a breastplate, an ephod, a full-length robe, a skillfully woven tunic with a fringe, a turban, and a sash ….of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet fabric and fine linen, and you shall make the sash of woven work … shall wear them when they come into the tabernacle of testimony or when they come near the altar of the holy place to minister as priests ….. It shall be an ordinance forever to him (the Levites) and his seed after him.”
The answer to these questions is because they are holy garments used in the representation and worship of God, they are to be regarded and treated with reverence and respect. They are to be burned, then the ashes are put out where they are unlikely to be walked upon. Just as you would burn an American flag if it was soiled or damaged or just if you want to dispose of it, you would do so by burning it, giving reverence and honor to those who sacrificed their lives for its representation.
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