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Author Topic: Women and Head Scarves  (Read 2425 times) Average Rating: 5
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« on: May 31, 2011, 04:25:11 AM »

I read up a bit on women wearing scarves of their head. The article i read said that all Christian women should cover their head..... i have only seen older women wearing one but so...... he was pretty emphatic about it and had bible verses to show his truth. Whats up with that??? Should ppl wear them or not or is it personal choice and why?? Thanks alot
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ok no worries i found some other threads on this topic in Faith Issues .... but they are mostly peoples opinion and not verses from the bible or writings.

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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 04:53:44 AM »

I guess its different in each church. In ours,from small girls to old women all cover their heads.

"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."

Its very clearly written, but those who wants to oppose it, comes up with some reason all the time.
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 05:22:42 AM »

Thanks kazakage
Yeah ppl can come up with reasons for a tonne of different things to change what the truth is for things they don't like any more but i thought that was the whole point of Orthodoxy is that ppl stick to what is written in the bible and also they stick to how things have been done since the Apostles. Youmight be like.... oh some things are small and insignificant and others are more important BUT if its written in the bible and it gives the reason as for prayer and the angels and all that then.... that seems like its a pretty big reason.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 08:24:17 AM »

It's clearly in the Bible and St. Paul gives theological reasons for the practice rather than cultural ones.

Men and women both have iconic roles to play in worship: why would women not want to represent the angels in worship, it's quite an honour. And why would men not want to represent Christ in the services, another great honour.

I think on this and other issues we have to guard against the modern knee-jerk contrarianism that wants to disagree with everything that doesn't quite suit our personal preferences.

Aren't I the curmudgeon this morning? :-)
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 11:46:46 PM »

Quote from: DavidH
Aren't I the curmudgeon this morning? :-)

Indeed.

I don't wear a mantilla. Some women do at my church, most don't. Guess we're just 'dishonorable.'  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 12:28:26 AM »

Quote from: DavidH
Aren't I the curmudgeon this morning? :-)

Indeed.

I don't wear a mantilla. Some women do at my church, most don't. Guess we're just 'dishonorable.'  Roll Eyes

No doubt I am often a curmudgeon, still it is too bad that a practice expressly encouraged in the Bible as an important symbolic part of our worship experience has begun to fall by the wayside.
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 12:52:52 AM »

There are also verses right around that one that say that men shouldn't have long hair, and so people tend to use that to bring up the cultural argument, because many Orthodox priests have long hair despite a clear biblical prohibition.
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 01:05:17 AM »

There are also verses right around that one that say that men shouldn't have long hair, and so people tend to use that to bring up the cultural argument, because many Orthodox priests have long hair despite a clear biblical prohibition.

This is another one of those verses that leads me to kinda just ignore St Paul when he starts to talk about anything other than doctrine -- Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 01:12:30 AM »

This is another one of those verses that leads me to kinda just ignore St Paul when he starts to talk about anything other than doctrine -- Lord, have mercy.

But that's really the problem. The head-covering teaching is doctrinal because he assigns a theological principle behind it. He doesn't do the same thing with the hair-length issue for men and women. But also, many current liberal sects also dismiss St. Paul whenever he brings up homosexuality. So where do we draw the line? When are we free to dismiss one of Paul's teachings as divinely inspired theology, and when are we to just ignore him because it seems silly to us? That's really at the core of this struggle. So even though I agree with head-covering for the women and that men should not cover their heads, because I don't take some literalistic face-value reading of his verses about hair length, I tend to try and keep my mouth shut about head-coverings. Especially since the bishops and priests don't seem to be making a fuss about it.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 01:20:19 AM »

This is another one of those verses that leads me to kinda just ignore St Paul when he starts to talk about anything other than doctrine -- Lord, have mercy.

But that's really the problem. The head-covering teaching is doctrinal because he assigns a theological principle behind it. He doesn't do the same thing with the hair-length issue for men and women. But also, many current liberal sects also dismiss St. Paul whenever he brings up homosexuality. So where do we draw the line? When are we free to dismiss one of Paul's teachings as divinely inspired theology, and when are we to just ignore him because it seems silly to us? That's really at the core of this struggle. So even though I agree with head-covering for the women and that men should not cover their heads, because I don't take some literalistic face-value reading of his verses about hair length, I tend to try and keep my mouth shut about head-coverings. Especially since the bishops and priests don't seem to be making a fuss about it.

You're right, and the failing is mine, I'm sure.

Some of the things St Paul writes just seem so inane and small to me (Lord, have mercy) -- whereas all the words which came out of the Lord's mouth seem to radiate power and authority.
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 02:57:49 AM »


But that's really the problem. The head-covering teaching is doctrinal because he assigns a theological principle behind it. He doesn't do the same thing with the hair-length issue for men and women.

It's esentially not a theological doctrine. St. Paul does not say that women who do not cover their heads are sinners or heretics.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 05:42:27 AM »

There are also verses right around that one that say that men shouldn't have long hair, and so people tend to use that to bring up the cultural argument, because many Orthodox priests have long hair despite a clear biblical prohibition.

Orthodox priests have long hair in imitation of the Nazarite vow, not because of personal vanity. St Paul warned against long hair for reasons of vanity and "softness".
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 08:38:58 AM »

There are also verses right around that one that say that men shouldn't have long hair, and so people tend to use that to bring up the cultural argument, because many Orthodox priests have long hair despite a clear biblical prohibition.

Yes, this verse causes problems for sola scriptura Christians because they do not have the benefit of 20 centuries of lived-out interpretations of these verses.

Taking the inspired words of Scripture (this isn't just St. Paul expressing a personal opinion but describing the practice of the Apostolic Church as led by the Holy Spirit) and seeing how the Church has lived out 1 Corinthians 11 we see that the Tradition is for women to wear head coverings in worship and for clergy to have long hair.

Two points to note on the long hair issue: first, St. Paul is writing to the Corinthian laity so he may or may not be saying anything about the clergy. Second, it would be silly to interpret this passage in such a way that both St. Paul and Christ Himself would fall under its prohibition.

As we see in the iconographic tradition, the Shroud of Turin, and from what we know archaeologically from that part of the world in ancient times both Jesus and men generally wore their hair "long" compared to the typical Greek and Roman styles.

And St. Paul's hair was long enough to require a head-band to hold it back (Acts 19:12) just as our clergy do so they can better image Christ physically and in remembrance of a life set apart as in the Nazarite vow of the Old Testament.

So the only two interpretations left to us for what St. Paul meant about "long hair" would be 1. Laymen should have shorter hair like the Greeks and Romans did so they do not seem to look like the clergy or 2. (and more likely) he means men should not be effeminate in the way they adorn their hair with long intricate braids and such.

There is nothing feminine about our long-haired, St. Paul imitating clergy :-)


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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 08:42:39 AM »

Surely it don't matter why he warned against it, the fact that he said that men should look like men.... and the fact that women are told to cover their hair...... if its such a small issue then why not just do it??
I mean.... when something is seen as a small, insignificant, cultural or non theological issue....why does it then fall on the side of not doing it rather than doing it?? You never see someone say... "Oh its a minor issue... but i do it anyway"....Why not just do everything it says just in case or even so as not to leave any room for ppl thinking they can interpret any other parts of the bible themselves?? Isn't there a wider issue here then just the headcoverings or the men with long hair??
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2011, 09:59:36 AM »

Quote from: DavidH
Aren't I the curmudgeon this morning? :-)

Indeed.

I don't wear a mantilla. Some women do at my church, most don't. Guess we're just 'dishonorable.'  Roll Eyes

No doubt I am often a curmudgeon, still it is too bad that a practice expressly encouraged in the Bible as an important symbolic part of our worship experience has begun to fall by the wayside.

Hey, we have a new calendar and women reading the epistle in some jurisdictions.  Not to mention theologians like Fr. Terazi.  As conservative as I am (and I agree that women should wear head coverings, and it is willful disobedience not to), I think this is the least of our worries.  The outside is a symptom of what is inside, not the problem itself.
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2011, 10:10:12 AM »

You can't tell a book by its cover.
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2011, 10:30:36 AM »

Quote from: DavidH
Aren't I the curmudgeon this morning? :-)

Indeed.

I don't wear a mantilla. Some women do at my church, most don't. Guess we're just 'dishonorable.'  Roll Eyes

No doubt I am often a curmudgeon, still it is too bad that a practice expressly encouraged in the Bible as an important symbolic part of our worship experience has begun to fall by the wayside.

Hey, we have a new calendar and women reading the epistle in some jurisdictions.  Not to mention theologians like Fr. Terazi.  As conservative as I am (and I agree that women should wear head coverings, and it is willful disobedience not to), I think this is the least of our worries.  The outside is a symptom of what is inside, not the problem itself.

True, I agree, and I don't mean to sound like an MP (Mantilla Police), but I do believe in speaking up when something is brought up like it was on this thread.

It doesn't cause me to stumble when women worship without a head covering, I just figure they haven't thought much about the teaching and will learn better in time. Anyway it's none of my business what someone personally does even though it is every Orthodox Christian's business to stand up for and live out as much of our Faith as we can (as long as it is done in love).

The other issues you mention are also important- but is there a tradition that women shouldn't chant the epistle if there is no Reader or other man present? I don't know. It seems like a small thing to me but perhaps I just have not been catechized properly on that point yet.

Because feminism has made many overly touchy on male/ female distinctions perhaps I should add that women are in no way inferior to men. The different roles assigned to our genders by Tradition are not statements of value but of function.

Traditional Orthodox are simply in favor of continuity and fidelity to what we have received and are not ergo in favor of burkhas :-)
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2011, 10:32:23 AM »

The women in my congregation generally choose to cover their hair in worship. They know that I prefer this, and the practice of many tends to encourage the observance of others, but I would not make a fuss of anyone who did not. I prefer that seeing how others worship instructs those who are new or from other backgrounds.
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2011, 10:43:11 AM »

The women in my congregation generally choose to cover their hair in worship. They know that I prefer this, and the practice of many tends to encourage the observance of others, but I would not make a fuss of anyone who did not. I prefer that seeing how others worship instructs those who are new or from other backgrounds.

I think this is the best approach and one my parish uses as well. Thank you, Father.

Can I still be a curmudgeon on an Orthodox forum when the subject comes up though? I try not to be too offensive :-)
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2011, 04:40:42 PM »

Well! Our priest encouraged us to cover, but we don't HAVE to. When I did for the first time I was startled to feel very differently during the liturgy! Maybe if you are considering or even curious, try it and see!
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2011, 05:24:59 PM »

I was wondering also, why some faiths wear them all the time not just to church. Like the Southern Baptists do some of them....and the Amish and Menonites and the Brethren and also the Jews. (and the Muslims)
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2011, 05:29:13 PM »

I think that there are a lot of Christian cultures in which women always cover their heads. Not so long ago in the UK it would have been entirely normal for a woman to always wear a scarf or hat when she went out, even to do the shopping, or to work.

It is only very recently that people have stopped wearing hats in the UK, and I am not entirely sure why.
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2011, 05:34:05 PM »

probably fashion and culture or something but.... did saint Paul mean to wear them all the time or just in church??
(are you a priest?? or a deacon or a monk??)
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2011, 06:14:03 PM »

I am a priest.
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2011, 06:19:33 PM »

Ok thanks.... just that the other guy isn't but hes called Father but he's a deacon/monk. Thought i'd ask to make sure.

Nice picture.  Grin
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2011, 08:48:55 PM »

Everyone always leaves out verse 16 when citing that passage.

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The passage goes over the reasons for head coverings for women and short hair for men, and seems to suggest that this would be an ideal way of showing reverence and respect to God while in prayer or worship. But when it comes down to it, it's not to be held to a point of dogmatic contention.
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2011, 09:06:19 PM »

Everyone always leaves out verse 16 when citing that passage.

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The passage goes over the reasons for head coverings for women and short hair for men, and seems to suggest that this would be an ideal way of showing reverence and respect to God while in prayer or worship. But when it comes down to it, it's not to be held to a point of dogmatic contention.

I take the apostle to be saying "I just laid out the Tradition regarding head coverings and the reasons for it. Arguing about it is not our custom, our custom is to follow the Tradition."
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« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2011, 09:24:16 PM »

verse 16....

16 But if anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

He thus brings the matter to a conclusion. In addition to the theological and moral reasons for the headcovering, there is also the fact that if the Corinthians were to allow their women to remove the headcovering, this new practice or custom (ףץםήטויבם) would go against the established custom of Paul and his fellow-workers, the custom which was observed in all the other churches, and which he has delivered to them as one of the נבסבהόףויע "traditional practices" of the faith (verse 2). A similar appeal to the church-wide נבסבהόףויע may be seen in 14:33, "As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent," and the argument there is also ended with a brusque, "if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized." (14:38). Those who continue to challenge the נבסבהόףויע regarding women after these explanations have been made are to be regarded as obstinate trouble-makers, who deserve no further answer.

Some have strangely interpreted this verse to mean, "But if anyone strongly disagrees with what I have said, rather than make a habit of argument over such unimportant matters let us just say it is a matter of indifference," etc. But this interpretation fails to take the whole passage seriously as the Word of God. And besides that (which should be enough), it makes no sense either rhetorically or semantically. Paul has devoted some time to this subject because it is important to him, not a matter of indifference; and it makes little sense to speak of a custom of being contentious (ציכόםויךןע, lit. "loving strife"), because contentiousness is an attitude or temper, not a custom. There is a good parallel to Paul's usage of the word ציכόםויךןע in Josephus' work Against Apion. Josephus concludes a series of arguments with the sentence, "I suppose that what I have already said may be sufficient to such as are not very contentious (ציכόםויךןע)," (18) and then he continues with even stronger arguments for those who are very contentious. In the same way, Paul reserves the clinching argument for the end. It is an argument from authority. The headcovering practice is a matter of apostolic authority and tradition, and not open to debate. His concluding rebuke of the contentious people in Corinth is meant to cut off debate and settle the issue, not to leave it open. It is quite wrong to say of this last argument of Paul's that "in the end he admits" that he was merely "rationalizing the customs in which he believes," (19) as if Paul himself put little store by custom. Rather, Paul considers this to be his strongest point. At the end he harks back to the words with which he opened the subject ("maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you" in verse 2), and the whole section is thus framed between explicit invocations of tradition.

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« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2011, 09:41:39 PM »

This is a little-t tradition that will be more strictly enforced in ROCOR or more traditional churches.
This would be moot in the OCA. Overall, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
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« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2011, 10:02:31 PM »

This is a little-t tradition that will be more strictly enforced in ROCOR or more traditional churches.
This would be moot in the OCA. Overall, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

I don't know if it can be claimed to be a small t-tradition as it comes out of scripture itself, and not cultural sensitivities (although it has clearly engrained itself in many cultures).

My own parish about half the women wear head coverings. I think it needs to be a personal choice, but wearing something is preferable.
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« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2011, 10:09:52 PM »

This is a little-t tradition that will be more strictly enforced in ROCOR or more traditional churches.
This would be moot in the OCA. Overall, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Unless, of course, the Romans are wrong. That the Apostle spent so much time explaining the custom shows it is not a "little t" tradition. What is a "little t" tradition anyway? There are no "little t" traditions. There is Apostolic Tradition and there is local custom.

The phrase "When in Rome" comes from St. Ambrose's advice to Bl. Augustine's mother St. Monica and referred to the observance of local customs. The head covering issue is not a local custom but a universal one as St. John Chrysostom makes clear in his comments on 1 Corinthians 11:16: "To oppose this teaching (of head coverings) is contentiousness, which is irrational. The Corinthians might object, but if they do so, they are going against the practice of the universal church." (HOMILIES ON THE EPISTLES OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS 26.5)



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« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2011, 02:51:28 PM »

This is a little-t tradition that will be more strictly enforced in ROCOR or more traditional churches.
This would be moot in the OCA. Overall, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Unless, of course, the Romans are wrong. That the Apostle spent so much time explaining the custom shows it is not a "little t" tradition. What is a "little t" tradition anyway? There are no "little t" traditions. There is Apostolic Tradition and there is local custom.

The phrase "When in Rome" comes from St. Ambrose's advice to Bl. Augustine's mother St. Monica and referred to the observance of local customs. The head covering issue is not a local custom but a universal one as St. John Chrysostom makes clear in his comments on 1 Corinthians 11:16: "To oppose this teaching (of head coverings) is contentiousness, which is irrational. The Corinthians might object, but if they do so, they are going against the practice of the universal church." (HOMILIES ON THE EPISTLES OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS 26.5)




This practice is variably enforced. Some people write "little-t traditions" to mean local customs.
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« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2011, 03:46:24 PM »

This is a little-t tradition that will be more strictly enforced in ROCOR or more traditional churches.
This would be moot in the OCA. Overall, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Unless, of course, the Romans are wrong. That the Apostle spent so much time explaining the custom shows it is not a "little t" tradition. What is a "little t" tradition anyway? There are no "little t" traditions. There is Apostolic Tradition and there is local custom.

The phrase "When in Rome" comes from St. Ambrose's advice to Bl. Augustine's mother St. Monica and referred to the observance of local customs. The head covering issue is not a local custom but a universal one as St. John Chrysostom makes clear in his comments on 1 Corinthians 11:16: "To oppose this teaching (of head coverings) is contentiousness, which is irrational. The Corinthians might object, but if they do so, they are going against the practice of the universal church." (HOMILIES ON THE EPISTLES OF PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS 26.5)




This practice is variably enforced. Some people write "little-t traditions" to mean local customs.

Would it not be more accurate say that the practice has become variably enforced in some less traditional jurisdictions in recent decades? It has only recently been considered to have the force of a local custom by some whereas historically it has been considered to be the practice of the universal church as the Chrysostom quote indicates.

Once St. Paul enshrined the practice with the force of Scripture and told his flock not to argue about it anymore the only real point to be discussed was whether all women should wear head coverings in worship or just the married ones (an issue Tertullian covered in his work, On The Veiling of Virgins).

That women should wear the head covering is a part of apostolic Tradition and the explicit teaching of Scripture as evidenced by all the patristic commentaries which deal with this issue (big T, if you wish).

Whether this includes the unmarried is the only variable according to local custom (the "little t").

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Tags: women  headscarves  cover  head head scarves head coverings 
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