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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kiril.Image source: Mospat.ru You may have noticed the stark differences between a Catholic priest and an Orthodox priest. Aside from the vestments they wear, Orthodox priests sport long and thick beards. It’s as if it’s part of their tradition! From the fifth to seventh century when the Christian Church had been firmly established, beards have always been a part of the lifestyle of the Orthodox clergy.