Beards are being talked about! The Times review recently described Ólafur Ólafsson, the Icelandic star of Trapped, as ‘big, hairy ..the new heart-throb.’ Christopher Oldstone- Moore has just published a scholarly history of facial hair Of Beards and Men.
A former Bishop of London, himself bearded, has written on the Church’s changing views on beards in a recent article in the Church Times. He writes “Such is the whirligig of time that the Swedish episcopate is now clean-shaven, while the Church of the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams has recovered the hirsute tradition of earlier ages.”
In 2002 the RC journal The Tablet commented upon the first bearded Archbishop for centuries under the not very complimentary title ‘His Hairiness.’
A few diocesan bishops have beards. In the far north, the Episcopal Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness has one, as does his colleague the Bishop of Edinburgh. The Bishop of Liverpool may have one (see here). A while ago Bishop Nigel McCulloch, then Bishop of Manchester, tried a beard, but now is clean shaven. His successor, Bishop David Walker, (pictured here) has stayed with it longer.
In style none of the bishops currently favour the distinctive Van Dyck style chosen by episcopal predecessors such as Archbishop Laud in the seventeenth century, although Bishop Adrian Newman may be heading in that direction. The full and luxuriant form grown by Archbishop Cranmer and Archbishop Grindal, is certainly out of favour.
So, as at present it seems that the bishops are finding their way.
Meanwhile the RC church is taking an initiative with its own ‘ Catholic beard balm.’
As we wait to see what fashions develop we offer for consideration a photograph of beards in different styles worn by two members of St Chrysostom’s Church – one lay, one clerical.
And let’s not forget that, when we worship at St Chrysostom’s, saints are surrounding us and are ever ready to inspire us. Here are some of them:
Now there are some beards for thought! Do you recognise them?
Which style beard do you prefer?