Daily Mail

Reach out to Mus­lims …by grow­ing a beard, bishop tells the clergy

- By Steve Doughty So­cial Affairs Correspond­ent Religion · Beauty · Fashion & Beauty · London · Richard Chartres · Chartres · Church of England · Frederick Temple · London Borough of Lambeth · David Beckham · Beards · Facial Hair · Church Times

CLER­GY­MEN should grow beards to em­pha­sise their ho­li­ness to Mus­lims, the Bishop of Lon­don has sug­gested.

He said the mod­ern fash­ion for fa­cial hair should not be the pre­serve of hispters, but would also be likely to im­press those from east­ern cul­tures where wear­ing a beard could mark a man out as holy.

The Right Rev­erend Richard Chartres is one of the Church of eng­land’s most se­nior fig­ures, and has had a ‘mod­est’ beard of his own for al­most 40 years.

He said two east end cler­ics had grown beards to fit in with lo­cal Mus­lims.

Writ­ing in the Church Times, he added: ‘Two of the most en­er­getic priests in east Lon­don have re­cently grown beards of an opu­lence that would not have dis­graced a Vic­to­rian sage.

‘The two priests work in parishes in Tower Ham­lets. Most of the res­i­dents are Bangladesh­i-Syl­heti for whom the wear­ing of a beard is one of the marks of a holy man. This view is shared among many east­ern cul­tures.’

Bishop Chartres, who is num­ber three in the hi­er­ar­chy of the Church of eng­land, said Western churches had of­ten dis­ap­proved of beards. In fact, at one stage in the late Middle Ages, archdea­cons had to shave priests who grew fa­cial hair – by force if nec­es­sary.

But he said Lord Wil­liams, the for­mer Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury who stood down from Lam­beth Palace in 2012, had ‘re­cov­ered the hir­sute tra­di­tion of ear­lier ages’.

The Bishop of Lon­don said: ‘Beards are no longer con­fined to those ex­co­ri­ated by their op­po­nents as trendy Lefties, and web­sites such as cool­beard­styles.com of­fer a gallery of sug­ges­tions for the mod­ern male of all ages.’

He cited David Beck­ham as ‘the near­est we have to a pop­u­lar sec­u­lar saint, and his flir­ta­tion with var­i­ous styles of beards has stim­u­lated count­less im­i­ta­tors’. But he warned that even in an age when many young men had taken to hip­ster beards, there could be draw­backs.

‘Those who choose to wear beards now, of course, have had to con­tend with a sus­pi­cion that has as­so­ci­ated beards with weak chins, or, even worse, with dis­guise and vil­lainy,’ Bishop Chartres said.

He said he grew his beard in the late Seven­ties when he went to stay in a monastery in egypt run by Cop­tic Chris­tians, who at one stage in his­tory dis­ap­proved of men with­out beards.

‘I felt so much at home there that I have never shaved off the sou­venir of the visit,’ he added.

 ??  ?? ‘Mod­est’ beard: The Right Rev Richard Chartres
‘Mod­est’ beard: The Right Rev Richard Chartres

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK