Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Disposing of Vestments

What would you like to know about the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith? Submit your question.

By Nick Damascus

Is there a proper way to dispose of old, worn vestments?

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 a spiritual function of 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.

(See Exodus 28: 2–39)

The answer to your question 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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