Is It OK To Buy Secondhand Clothing? Do I Need to Sprinkle It With Holy Water?

Of course, you may. We are not ashamed to buy a used car or an apartment in which someone lived before us, are we? Especially since shopping at secondhand shops is often not only much cheaper than at markets or other stores, but also provides a better quality. It seems to me that there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about it. Everyone has to count their dime, especially in our times of economic turbulence. The only exception is buying secondhand underwear. This is kind of unhygienic.

But here’s what you should consider. Remember the life of the holy Great Martyr Theodore Tyro? In the mid-sixties of the 4th century, during the last failed attempt of the Gentiles at restoring paganism, the impious Emperor Julian the Apostate, seeking to desecrate the Christians of Constantinople during the Lent, ordered to sprinkle food supplies in the markets of the Empire’s capital with blood of pagan sacrifices. The Great Martyr Theodore, who had died 50 years prior to that, appeared to Eudoxius, the Archbishop of Constantinople, in a night vision, and warned him of the emperor’s plan. The saint ordered Christians not to buy products at the markets, but to cook kolyva (kutya), i. e., boiled wheat with honey. To commemorate this event, clergy in the Orthodox churches read the canon to the Great Martyr Theodore Tyro on the First Friday of Lent after the Prayer Behind the Ambo of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, and the kutya is consecrated. His day of remembrance is celebrated on the Saturday of the First Week of the Lent.

Based on this fact, we can assume that there are people like Julian the Apostate in our time as well. We don’t know what motives a person from a faraway country had when he gave his clothes away to the secondhand shop. Maybe he did it in good faith, or maybe he had performed a magic rite on them. What if he wore the clothes while committing heinous acts? Then it could be defiled. When we buy clothes, we put on our bodies the imprint of someone else’s sin. The grace of the Holy Spirit and holiness are transmitted through the relics of the righteous and even their clothes and household items. The sin of a wicked man can also be found on his garments. By the way, this can happen not only to secondhand items, but also to brand-new items. After all, the country of their production is often an outright pagan land, not even a non-Orthodox Christian state.

For example, I turned it into a habit  to sprinkle any purchased item (except, of course, for underwear or other similar items like bathroom fixtures, garbage cans, etc.) with holy water. After all, as you know, a demon can not stay in a place where there is holy water and especially Epiphany water. The devil dreads it like fire. If you can have your property, apartment, car consecrated – you need to do it, calling for God’s blessing on them. When it comes to clothing, of course, you should not consecrate it like an Orthodox priest does. It should be sprinkled with holy water. Anyone can do it. Take some holy water in the palm of your hand or in a cup and sprinkle it crosswise, saying In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If there is no holy water, you can cross a thing and invoke the Holy Trinity. Satan cannot stand the sign of the cross and the Name of God, so he leaves the place or object in which he used to dwell.

A layperson is not allowed to say any special prayers (especially from the Trebnik). It is enough to sprinkle your clothes or other household items with holy water or mark them with the sign of the cross, or better yet, do both.

After that, dear brothers and sisters, carry on with your life and your clothes. There will be no more filth in it.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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  1. Jesus said not to worry about clothing or food because The Father provides for us. For years I’ve purchased second-hand clothing to save money. God knows our hearts and only good comes from His hand.

    1. Amen, Patricia.

      Indeed, second-hand clothing is a great option for those of us looking to save money. I have a few items in my closet that I got from thrift stores and to me, they are just as good as what I bought brand new.

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