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Author Topic: Tonsure Readers  (Read 1747 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ghazar
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« on: February 23, 2006, 05:47:04 PM »

Dear Brethren,

When someone is tonsured a Reader what role does the tonsure play? Besides being a significant rite which expresses that you are now a part of the minor clergy by receiving this clerical tonsure, and that you should consider yourself cut off from worldliness, does the tonsure fulfill any further purpose? Do tonsured Readers ever attempt to retain the significance of their tonsure by continuing to wear it? Or is this unheard of? If so, what does the tonsure look like. Obviously it is not the Latin Church's style which reminds me of pictures of St. Francis. I have read the total shaving of the head is considered a tonsure in the Eastern Churches. Any thoughts on this?

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. Ghazar Der-Ghazarian

Orthodox Evangelization Mission
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Trusting in Christ's Inextinguishable Light,
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Arystarcus
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2006, 07:56:16 PM »

Do tonsured Readers ever attempt to retain the significance of their tonsure by continuing to wear it? Or is this unheard of? If so, what does the tonsure look like. Obviously it is not the Latin Church's style which reminds me of pictures of St. Francis. I have read the total shaving of the head is considered a tonsure in the Eastern Churches.

I have witnessed a few tonsurings done in OCA churches. As to how it was done, the bishop merely trimmed a few wisps of hair, about half an inch to an inch in length from the front, back and sides of the head. Because such a small amount of hair is trimmed, the tonsuring doesn't have particular "look" to it and is hardly noticeable.

Hope this helps!  Smiley
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Fr. David
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006, 10:07:09 AM »

My understanding of the early Church (though I could be wrong) is that the hair was noticeably shorn (perhaps completely, perhaps in the form of a cross) so as to remind the newly tonsured that he needed to be willing to endure shame for the sake of Christ.  This probably kept the newly-tonsured from having their heads in the clouds regarding their election and kept thier feet planted humbly on the ground.

When Abp. +DMITRI tonsured me, he did what Arystarcus said--trimmed unnoticeable bits from the front, back, and sides of my head, saying that our hair was given to us as a protection against the elements, and that our hair was our offering to God--perhaps putting our protection once again into the hands of Him who gave us the protection in the first place?

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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2006, 11:12:17 AM »

One of the explanations that is typically given at the different tonsurings (baptism, reader, etc.) is that we are giving of the one thing that God does not take but asks for us to give willingly - ourselves.
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 09:45:27 PM »

Yes, he usually cuts crosswise, but not in a noticeable manner.
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 10:28:19 AM »

Dear Brethren,

When someone is tonsured a Reader what role does the tonsure play? Besides being a significant rite which expresses that you are now a part of the minor clergy by receiving this clerical tonsure, and that you should consider yourself cut off from worldliness, does the tonsure fulfill any further purpose? Do tonsured Readers ever attempt to retain the significance of their tonsure by continuing to wear it? Or is this unheard of? If so, what does the tonsure look like. Obviously it is not the Latin Church's style which reminds me of pictures of St. Francis. I have read the total shaving of the head is considered a tonsure in the Eastern Churches. Any thoughts on this?

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. Ghazar Der-Ghazarian

Orthodox Evangelization Mission
www.geocities.com/derghazar/OEM

I'm not sure what you mean by "cut off from worldliness." At baptism/chrismation, there is a tonsure. And readers are tonsured. But neither are a monastic tonsure. We are "cut off from worldliness" as befits all Christians, but not in some greater sense. We still live in the world and are not distinguished outside church by special dress or actions. Our "setting apart" is for the church work we are given to do.

Reader John
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