I have been asking this question for a while and I have gotten mixed answers. My question is: Why are beards not allowed to the orders of laity and only allowed to members of the clergy although many church fathers, like St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Clement of Alexandria, spoke against shaving? Is there a biblical reference or is it just because growing a beard has to do with certain groups in our community? Is it wrong to stop somebody from taking Communion because he has grown a beard although he was prepared for taking Communion (i.e., properly dressed, came on time, repented, fasting, etc.)?
The custom and tradition in the Old Testament was that men generally had long hair and beards. Cropped hair and beardless faces of men became integrated in the fashion culture through pagan influences. The Roman Catholic clergy and Protestant pastors also adopted this modern look as well. In our Coptic culture, beards became associated with certain sects known in the Middle Eastern customs and was disapproved primarily by the family who did not want their young men to inconspicuously misrepresent their identity. The Church never took a stand to forbid laymen to have beards. If a person is forbidden from partaking of the Holy Eucharist merely because of having a beard, that person should speak directly with that priest and politely ask for an explanation. The reason may be for lack of obedience rather than for the beard itself.