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Author Topic: Headscarves - Revisiting an Old Topic  (Read 13777 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jennifer
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« on: March 08, 2005, 09:13:34 PM »

I've been thinking a lot recently about headcoverings and modest dress in church and I'm curious if other women have 'wrestled' with this issue.  (forgive me, I know it's been discussed before)  I've come to believe that women should cover their heads in church.  It's from Scripture and it's a good, pious tradition.  BUT, I feel very self-conscious doing it because no one does it at my parish except for the priest's wife.  I feel like if I show up for liturgy with a headscarf I'll look like a show-off.  I've worn hats a few times but that's much less conspicuous than a scarf. 

I picked up a simple scarf today at a department store and messed with it a bit tonight and it looks so darn pious that I'm embarrassed.  I don't think of myself as 'pious.' 

On a similar note, I've also been a long quest for appropriate church attire.  I always wear a skirt to the Divine Liturgy but most of my skirts hit right below the knee or if they're a little longer they have a slit.  I feel like ideally I should have a skirt that hits at about my calf but iIt's near impossible to find long skirts.  I'm short and any long skirt is like Laura Ingalls Wilder on me.  I tried a few on today that were actually longer than my legs.  There's a few websites with modest clothing that have wrap skirts that might be a good option although I'd have to get it hemmed.  Any ladies had similar issues?  What's brought this to a head is that there is no way I can do prostrations in any of my skirts.  I usually wear jeans for vespers (the horrors!) but I feel like I should dress it up a bit for the presanctified liturgy at least I can do prostrations in my jeans without being a near occassion of sin (I'm such a Roman Catholic Grin ) for anyone. 

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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2005, 09:41:30 PM »

Heya Jennifer Smiley

I, too, have "wrestled" with these things. After many many months of thinking (too) hard about head coverings, I came to the conclusion that they are a good thing, mostly because they are a physical practice in humility, which is something I struggle with. I understand the flip side perspective, though, where the head covering instead could become a source of pride. But for me, the head covering issue became a thorn in my side simply because I found I was more concerned w/ what people thought than, well, what God thought (haha it's true tho). So that's when I decided to get over my self-consciousness and just "try" it, to see what the spiritual benefits might be. Now, for me, there was actually a very practical benefit that I feel is tied to their original use, which is that I have long, thick hair that goes all over the place, and even in a pony-tail, when I do a bow the pony-tail would flop over my shoulder and into my face. Not to mention my silly habit of swishing my bangs to the side - I have some fidgeting problems, which manifest into me playing w/ my hair a lot. By covering my head and using the covering to get the hair outta my way, I can participate in all the physical aspects of our worship (sign of cross, bows, etc) without distraction. Beyond this, another reason I have stuck with it is because my patron is the Theotokos, and as my avatar suggests, I want nothing more than to emulate her (even though I do a bad job at it most of the time), and as everyone always says, her head is always covered in icons. Anyway, these are a few of the reasons why I continue to cover my head.

An important thing to remember is, everyone is at the divine services to pay attention to their relationship with God, not the people around them. The fact that we all face forward, including the clergy, is a testament to this, IMO.

As for modest dress, I personally usually go for ankle-length skirts or dresses (which I usually then wear a shirt over the top to make it more like a "skirt" since many of my dresses are spaghetti strap), precisely for the reason you said: bows and prostrations, etc. This hasn't been a huge problem for me, since my personal every-day style in spring and summer consists of broom-skirts ("peasant skirts" as some call 'em), so I have many. On top, I have cultivated a daunting collection of solid color cotton t-shirts, in many many colors Smiley The only advice I can give for finding skirts that fit you and are the length you want is to try thrift stores, since those are the only places the broom-skirt style is found these days (unless you count Urban Outfitters, but I can't afford that lol). Good luck on your search for clothes! Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2005, 09:56:17 PM »

Also - a friend has told me that long skirts without slits are also to be found in Talbots, in case the broom-skirt thing isn't really your style Wink
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2005, 12:53:59 AM »

I'm on the (very) short side myself.  I have a long black skirt that I bought many years ago that I depend on frequently.  It's got a slit to ensure that you can walk without falling over, but it's not too high.  Since "knee-length" skirts tend to go well below my knees due to my being vertically challenged, they usually do pretty well for me, and I haven't found them to be much of a problem during prostrations because the skirts tend to fall right around me and cover me quite well.
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2005, 01:41:44 AM »

Never really been a issue, frankly. Grin

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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2005, 01:59:44 AM »

I always cover my hair in church. In addition to trying to be obedient to scripture (at least in this one thing), it just feels right. It somehow focuses me and reminds me that I am in a special place.

Since there are plenty of immigrants in my church, covering my hair doesn't really make me stand out, as many other women cover as well. I understand the issue of not wanting to stand out. I have been to a few churches where no one covered their hair and I felt like a fish out of water, so to speak. If your priest's wife wears a scarf, try one similar to what she wears and, who knows, you may start a trend! Does your church have a bookstore/giftshop? If so, perhaps you can suggest that they carry a few scarves or lace mantillas. Although there have always been women at my church who have covered their hair, more cover now than five years ago. I think that may have to do with the fact that our church's bookstore now carries scarves and lace mantillas. I think a lot of women don't cover because they don't know where to look for something appropriate for that purpose. If it is made available, more women will try it. 

I feel most comfortalble with a long rectangle. The most comfortable material is Indian cotton, since it doesn't slip off too easily. Lace mantillas are nice and if you are looking for one, the best source over the internet is http://www.headcoverings.com/index.html. Right now it is kind of trendy to wear little scarves tied behind the neck. I and some other women at my parish sometimes tie our lace mantillas behind our necks, as it can be more comfortable that way.

As for long skirts and dresses, try Eddie Bauer online.
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2005, 02:04:21 AM »

Oops! I'm always doing this--posting a reply and then thinking of something else to add.  Sorry.  Here is the site for the Eddie Bauer outlet.  It's cheaper and has some good things: http://www.eddiebaueroutlet.com/default.asp?lp=c0
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2005, 02:05:54 AM »

I have a few mantillas from back when I used to attend the traditional Mass but I never worn them to the Divine Liturgy because no one here ever wears mantillas. 

I think I might try a headcovering soon.  It'll be a little embarrasing at first but it's probably a good, pious practice.  I just hope I don't offend anyone.  I know that it's a controversial issue and some women think that it's sexist and get angry when they see a woman in a veil. 

In case anyone is interested, I found this website: modestclothing.com which looks like it has some inexpensive long skirts.  I especially like the wrap skirts.  However, they are 40 inches long which means they are longer than my legs! 
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2005, 10:18:38 AM »

Yes, I have wrestled with this topic myself. I still have a problem with the "pious costume"  the one that screams "look at me I'm so ORTHODOX!"  Dressing like a 19th century Russian peasant or copping the "penacostal style" in a long denim or calico print skirt with a frumpy blouse IMHO is not necessary.  Especially if it is not the way you dressed before.  I think that we need to set a good example of modest dress to the rest of the world without making ourselves stick out like sore thumbs.   I have been able to find perfectly modern, comfortable and modest clothing for liturgy as well as come nice scarves at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Personally, I tend to go with the climate of the parish.  If most of the women cover, I will too. If most of the women don't cover thier heads, I won't. I don't like to be a spectacle.    Regardless of what parish I find myself in, I'm always dressed modestly for church. I favor knee length to ankle length (when I can find them as I am 5'9 1/2) skirts and well fit shirts and blouses.

That's my personal opinion.



As for www.modestapparrel.com, I have ordered from them before. The quality is outstanding for the price!
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2005, 11:17:47 AM »

I wear headcoverings only when I go to Communion & during the first & last week of lent.  When we were young in Jordanville, our parents never made us wear scarves, it was only when converts (both American & ex-Soviet) started moving close by that you began seeing 2 month old babies in scarves.  I have nothing against scarves at all, but when some pilgram tried to give us scarves to put on when we came for vigil one weekend saying "I know you girls are new here, but really, if you knew anything about Orthodoxy you wouldn't be tempting the monks," I couldn't help turning around saying "Most of these monks gave us candy and bounced us on their knees, if their tempted by us, they've got more problems than just uncovered female hair."  The old Jordanville tradition (dicated by Archimandrite Kyprian (may he rest in peace) who was the spiritual father to many people including Met. Lavr), was that married women wear headcoverings, unmarried can go without.

On the flip side I have a billion and 5 scarves, shawls, and mantillas which I could in theory wear, but use as draperies, throws, wall hangings and tablecloths (yeah, my apartment's a little weird.  :-) ) 

So that's my babble about scarves.

As far as skirts, Old Navy has (or had, being poor I haven't been there in a while) some pretty decent full length elastic skirts that are perfect for prostrations during lent.  Also, I just know when I'm specifically looking for something I almost never find it.  However if I go to buy shoes and randomly check out the sales rack for tops & skirts/pants, I tend to find great stuff. 

As for the short people, my full sympanthies coming from a short family, but really, LEARN TO HEM!!! A whole new world of possibilities will open up to you in both pants and skirts. 
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2005, 11:50:48 AM »

Maybe it's my Protestant background showing a bit, but I could never bring myself to "go without" when it's in Scripture.  I don't think it's very conspicuous if the rest of your outfit is fairly "normal".
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2005, 11:51:19 AM »

Never occurred to me to wear anything of the type! Nobody in out parish wears scarves except the very oldest of the Yaya's, and there arent even many of them. Some wear hats (I've seen some fabulous hats). Most ladies wear skirts, in general, but i havent noticed it as a topic at all here. Someone explain prostrations to me...I've a billion and one questions to ask people at church. (first lent/Pascha season for me).
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2005, 01:07:11 PM »


As for the short people, my full sympanthies coming from a short family, but really, LEARN TO HEM!!! A whole new world of possibilities will open up to you in both pants and skirts.

I naturally 'recoil' when I think about hemming my skirts and slacks.  My mom and grandmother used to hem my clothes when I was growing up and the never looked right.  The hems never looked the same as 'store-bought.'  I've had a few things altered at the tailor and I should do that more.  I know the tailor can make them look the same as 'store-bought' but I can't get past those childhood memories of the weird looking hems my mother/grandmother did for me. 
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2005, 01:16:05 PM »

Never occurred to me to wear anything of the type! Nobody in out parish wears scarves except the very oldest of the Yaya's, and there arent even many of them.  Some wear hats (I've seen some fabulous hats). Most ladies wear skirts, in general, but i havent noticed it as a topic at all here.  Someone explain prostrations to me...I've a billion and one questions to ask people at church. (first lent/Pascha season for me).
Aurelia

I'll try to explain it.  During the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian which is recited at all of the liturgy of the Presanctified, you do prostrations after every line.  Also it's traditional to include St. Ephraim's prayer in your daily prayers during lent with the prostrations.  You go down on your knees then touch your forehead on the floor then stand back up.  BTW, if your parish has pews, I'm not sure how you do the prostrations.  I've only seen it done in non-parish pews. 

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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2005, 02:51:51 PM »



I'll try to explain it. During the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian which is recited at all of the liturgy of the Presanctified, you do prostrations after every line. Also it's traditional to include St. Ephraim's prayer in your daily prayers during lent with the prostrations. You go down on your knees then touch your forehead on the floor then stand back up. BTW, if your parish has pews, I'm not sure how you do the prostrations. I've only seen it done in non-parish pews.



Good explaination! I attended a "pew havin' church last year and everyone sort of moved to the center of the aisle or stood in the back and did prostrations that way. The other way to do prostrations in a church with pews is to go down on your knees and touch your forehead to your hands or the pew in front of you. or simply go down on your knees in sort of a crouching position.
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2005, 03:47:05 PM »

Jennifer,

You should have moved to Texas!  The ladies down here, including a matushka I know, wear lovely Southern hats.  My wife has now started in on it.  Not only do they cover your head, but they shield you from the sun when you go outside.  But I guess that's not a real problem where you are.
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2005, 05:17:01 PM »

i generally wear jeans and sneakers to church, not out of disrespect but for comfort as long as they're clean i dont see a problem. in fact ive seen people wear tshirts and what not on occasion.  i dont see what the big deal is about dress as long as you don't look sloppy or hooker-like.

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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2005, 05:48:23 PM »

I attended a "pew havin' church last year and everyone sort of moved to the center of the aisle or stood in the back and did prostrations that way. The other way to do prostrations in a church with pews is to go down on your knees and touch your forehead to your hands or the pew in front of you. or simply go down on your knees in sort of a crouching position.

It was always hard on me during Lent at the Antiochian church I used to attend in Tulsa...the floor was sloped slightly forward and there were pews, so not only did I have to basically fold myself down under the pew into a little ball (which, when you have a lit candle during Holy Week, can get pretty interesting--you always smell someone's burning hair at least once during the service), but when you stayed down there for a few seconds, all the blood would just start to creeeeeep up into your head. It was special. Wink

You should have moved to Texas!

Woah! Do you live in TX, cizinec? If there's a Serbian parish around here, it's news to me!

i generally wear jeans and sneakers to church, not out of disrespect but for comfort as long as they're clean i dont see a problem. in fact ive seen people wear tshirts and what not on occasion. i dont see what the big deal is about dress as long as you don't look sloppy or hooker-like.

Well, yeah, and no one should really look or care about other folks' manner of dress, but--to call you on your own reasoning which you used to tell me about how church buildings should be--we'd dress up to meet the President; shouldn't we do so at least to a degree to meet the King?

That having been said, I usually dress according to the "importance" of the service--less formally for Vespers (slacks, a golf shirt), nicer for DL (button-down shirt, tie, slacks), even NICER for Holy Week/Pascha (suit/tie, though I may be wearing a reader's cassock come this Pascha, Lord and Archbishop willing).

A (my wife Audra) usually wears a scarf during Lent for presanctified and during Holy Week, but not many other times...a symbol of repentance and all that.
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2005, 06:54:47 PM »

If one wears a headcovering, should all of the hair be covered? 

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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2005, 10:13:43 AM »

If one wears a headcovering, should all of the hair be covered?



That depends. I know some monastaries require this, in my experience at parishes where most of the women do cover I have seen everything from bandanas, hats, turbans, tams and big dramatic scarves.
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2005, 11:56:42 AM »

Since everyone seems to agree, I think I'll provide an opposite view point for the sake of being a dissenter. From a purely historical standpoint, what Paul was referring to in Verses 11 and 12 is not the same as what is today. To clarify. Back in the day that the Letter was written, The headscarf meant a very different thing than it means today. In Paul's time, A prostitute was recognized by how she dressed. To leave the hair uncovered and lose, flowing down and untamed meant that a woman was independent and could do whatever she wanted. To counter this in Christian society, the women would wear headscarfs to distinguish themselves from common harlots. Now in todays day and age, there is no distinction. A woman not wearing a headscarf doesn't mean that she's a prostitute, it just means that she feels more comfortable with her head uncovered. Further, Paul goes on in verses 13 and 14 to day that each person should judge for themselves about whether it is right or not to wear a headscarf. He continues in 16 that if it will be an issue for a woman then there should be no covering of the head and they may go with their head uncovered. So from history, we see that Paul was merely addressing a cultural issue at the time, and not a spiritual issue. Therefore, the use of headcoverings by women is in my opinion optional.

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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2005, 12:47:13 PM »

Nicholas, no he does not make it an option and in telling people to judge he is explaining it as something they know is right.
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2005, 01:46:31 PM »

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So from history, we see that Paul was merely addressing a cultural issue at the time, and not a spiritual issue. Therefore, the use of headcoverings by women is in my opinion optional.

I think we have only been discussing our own personal practice regarding head scarves - i.e. I don't think any woman who has posted yet has stated that it is not optional, and so required. As a newcomer to Orthodoxy, I seek only to conform my own behavior to my ever-growing understanding of Orthodoxy, and on this issue I have no place or right to project my understanding onto others who have been doing this far longer than I have.
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2005, 02:11:50 PM »

Pedro,

St. Sava SOC is in Cypress, a suburb of Houston. I think it's been around for fifteen to twenty years.

Sts. Constantine & Helen is in Galveston (I think this is the oldest Orthodox parish in Texas and one of the oldest in North America). Its current builing was built in 1915 and received most of its icons from Czar Nicholas II. I believe it was Russian when it was built and I believe their first church was built in 1890.

Three Holy Hierarchs is in Dallas. This is a new parish. I think it's only a few years old.

There are also communities in Austin and San Antonio. I know they want to get their own priest, etc.

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« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2005, 02:30:32 PM »

There are also communities in Austin and San Antonio.  I know they want to get their own priest, etc.

There's a Serbian community here in SA?  I had no idea...
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« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2005, 05:11:38 PM »



I think we have only been discussing our own personal practice regarding head scarves - i.e. I don't think any woman who has posted yet has stated that it is not optional, and so required. As a newcomer to Orthodoxy, I seek only to conform my own behavior to my ever-growing understanding of Orthodoxy, and on this issue I have no place or right to project my understanding onto others who have been doing this far longer than I have.


I wasn't trying to disagree, I was merely trying to state an opposite view point as I see things. If we didn't let history interfere with religion, we would all be wearing sandals and robes like Christ and the Apostles, but no one is doing that anymore. I was trying to relate the headscarfs to a change in dress and attitude nothing more, i apologize if I have offended anyone, it was not my intent.

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« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2005, 05:28:55 PM »

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I was trying to relate the headscarfs to a change in dress and attitude nothing more, i apologize if I have offended anyone, it was not my intent.

As far as I'm concerned, no apology necessary Smiley I follow what you are saying re: change in attitudes towards dress and what it signifies, but I still submit that head scarves have a very practical use for women w/ long hair so they can participate fully in the faith through bows and prostrations w/o hair getting in the way... the fact that it is a pious tradition happens to reinforce their use, in my thinking.
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« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2005, 07:38:50 PM »

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I believe it was Russian when it was built and I believe their first church was built in 1890.

Not only that, but it had a Greek priest as well! (Who, I am told, is responsible for certain Greekifications in the design of the church, such as having the bishop's throne outside the altar, rather than at the high place.)

[And totally off-topic, but I witnessed with my own two eyes my priest serving at liturgy there under Metr. Christopher, so nyah to anyone who says that ROCOR and Serbia aren't in communion.]
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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2005, 11:02:20 PM »

Update on the scarf issue....

I've been covering my head at church for the past month or so.  At first it felt strange but I'm pretty much used to it now.  Thank goodness no one has said anything.  And this wednesday at Presanctified another catechumen showed up wearing a scarf. 

The problem is that I don't have that many headcoverings.  I have a little black hat and a white scarf.  The scarf isn't one of those big triangle things though so it doesn't cover all of my hair.  I look around for other head coverings but they seem to be hard to find.  After experimenting I found a way to wear my mantillas.  I can tie it behind the head and then wrap it around a bun.  It's okay.  Not totally Orthodox but it's a start. 

I think I'll have to ease into the babushka scarf look.  I've got to confess though I really don't like wearing scarfs tied under my chin. 

Maybe I'll check out some stores in the Orthodox Jewish part of town since they cover their heads.  Obviously if I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life I need to build up a headcovering 'wardrobe.' 

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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2005, 12:23:13 AM »

I wouldn't worry if some of your hair sticks out from the scarf or not having it under the chin and more just tied around the hair/head instead.  I think it's more the gesture that counts.

Disclaimer:  I'm a male, so what do I know.
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2005, 01:57:17 AM »

I can't say that I know of any women who cover their hair who do the babushka thing.  Not even the babushkas.  Don't fret too much about it, if you can help it. Most of the women that I know who choose to wear one wear the same one or two every week. It becomes part of their experience of church like a priest's vestments in a way. It's not about fashion, matching, or having a great variety.
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« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2005, 03:08:07 PM »

Hello, I have been a catachumen for 8 months. I see a lot of headscarves in my (mostly convert) congregation. I am very bothered by them. I am especially bothered by women who put them on their little daughters, some as young as 3 or 4! I cannot understand the point of a headscarf. It was part of customary dress in biblical times, as were long robes and sandals for both men and women. Why don't the men show up in First Century attire too, if it is so important to dress like the early church? Probably the headscarf was essential for the biblical woman because she did not have the opportunity to wash and style her hair like we have today. (By the way, I have short "mousy" hair, nothing attractive about it!) My question is WHY this arcane practice??
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« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2005, 03:50:44 PM »

Read this thread and do a search for lots of other threads. It's discussed all over the place. If it were only a historical clothing issue, it wouldn't be addressed. For many people, it's more than that. And that's fine. Talk to your priest about it. And try not to judge or get angry at the people who do wear them. Most parishes have both kinds of people. It's just not an issue.
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« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2005, 03:53:40 PM »

Hello, I have been a catachumen for 8 months. I see a lot of headscarves in my (mostly convert) congregation. I am very bothered by them. I am especially bothered by women who put them on their little daughters, some as young as 3 or 4! I cannot understand the point of a headscarf. It was part of customary dress in biblical times, as were long robes and sandals for both men and women. Why don't the men show up in First Century attire too, if it is so important to dress like the early church? Probably the headscarf was essential for the biblical woman because she did not have the opportunity to wash and style her hair like we have today. (By the way, I have short "mousy" hair, nothing attractive about it!) My question is WHY this arcane practice??

I may be oversimplyfing but... The scarf creates "ambience" and makes one feel good about being Orthodox. Donning a headcovering is more a matter of climate of an individual parish than an official rule of the whole Orthodox  church. Yes, they are more common amongst the converts and much less common in an ethnic parish.

Forgive these people, don't let them get to you. They are only trying to do what's right. I felt  and sometimes still feel the same type of annoyance as you feel.
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« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2005, 04:07:51 PM »

I remember on my visit to the local Malankara church that the women with maybe one except had headcoverings. BUT they used a sort of shawl-- very long and a bit narrow-- and the result was every bit as fetching as the triangle-tied-under-the-chin is dowdy.
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« Reply #35 on: April 05, 2005, 04:22:41 PM »

 Beware, this is probably a liberal, ignorant-sounding, WestCoast thing to say! From a recent catachumen, SoCal, West Coast,mostly convert OO church point of view, I can understand the use of the word "arcane"
in reference to headscarves. Your comments about hair and hygeine are true but secondary in my mind. Let's talk cultural context here.  I have read that the custom in the Holy Land during New Testament times was that the only women who had uncovered heads were the prostitutes and that is the reason for  St. Paul's encouragement to  Christian women to cover their heads in church, it was a sign of respect. That makes perfect sense to me in the cultural context of 1st century Palestine. In my cultural context this is not a problem. There are no elder cradle orthodox women in my parish, so we "young" (relative term) have to go to places like this forum to discuss such things. I don't know what your parish's ethnic background is, our parish is Syrian/Indian. The photos and videos I've seen of Orthodox women in our tradition include Indian women with headcoverings and Syrian women with/without depending on the country. All that to say this. In my part of the US women don't usually do headcoverings /hats etc. for church (like it sounds like they do in the southern US). I go with that norm  and do not wear headcoverings to my parish. BUT, if I were visiting or attending a parish where headcoverings are the practice and there were strong feelings about the wearing of them, I hope that I would choose the charitable/respectful thing and wear them. It could be a way of showing honor to your fellow parishoners. When I was a guest in Russia  at an Orthodox church I wore a scarf out of respect. I know that you know that your spirituality is in no way affected by what is or isn't on your head. Don't you think that the most important thing is to have a humble heart?  How is that for speaking out of both sides of my mouth? Bottom line, I do not believe that that particular Biblical mandate needs to be practiced today, but where it is I choose respect for the cultural heritage of others
.Rambling...Desertrose
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« Reply #36 on: April 05, 2005, 04:41:00 PM »

A couple of points (how unelegantly I may attempt to make):

1) First of all, putting scarves on young girls (like anyone pre-teen), while may be good in a sense of getting them accustomed to wearing it or maybe wanting to "be like mommy" may be ok, but in a praxis/patristic sense would be utterly ridiculous and besides the point.

2) Now to the meaning.  I've read that the meaning of wearing a scarf has to do with woman being considered the "fountainhead" of man regarding beauty - with references made to the Theotokos being "More honourable than the Cherubim and beyond compare, more glorious than the Seraphim..."  With that in mind, it makes sense for St. Paul to say that women should cover their hair.  Of course, the point is for everyone to dress modestly so one can focus on God.
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« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2005, 05:53:39 PM »

Quote
Yes, they are more common amongst the converts and much less common in an ethnic parish.

Depends on the parish. The main ROCOR church here in Houston is very close to 100% ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, to the point that the sermon is given in Russian, and I'd estimate at least half of those women wear a head covering of some sort.
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« Reply #38 on: April 05, 2005, 06:07:44 PM »

It's a matter of respect and the demonstration thereof. In past Western (and Eastern, to an extent) history, men donned hats for most of the time. Removing a hat when indoors, when acknowledging a lady, and especially when in church (excepting liturgical vestments that include headgear) was the respectful way of humbling one's self. For women, it is the taking on of a hat/headcovering when in a church that is the respectful way of humbling one's self. Equal but opposite.

Men have fallen out of the habit of wearing hats when outdoors. Women have fallen out of the habit of wearing hats altogether. Some women continue the practice of donning headgear whenever they're in church as it is the tradition. Any man that wears a hat/headcovering to church had better remove it upon entering or it would be seen as disrespectful. The practices continue with some limited practice. If women wore headcoverings all the time as used to be common practice, wearing one in church would be a non-issue. If more men still wore hats a lot of the time, making sure the man did not wear it while in church would be more of an issue.

The end result of all that incoherent babble?
It's a non-issue.
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« Reply #39 on: April 05, 2005, 06:53:54 PM »

A Corinthians 11 / 4-17

4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.
6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.
7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;
9 for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake.
10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.
12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?
14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,
15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.
16 But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.
17 But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.

Do you know that angels are present in the church ?

The covers over the heads are signs for the angels, because they are not able to distinguish the difference bettwen a man and a woman.

And the true meaning is not about the visual covers but the unseen ones.

Let every woman and man in the church be dressed with humility and have her head covered with humbleness. This is the message from S. Paul.

Also note that in the days of Apostle Paul women that participated in pagan ceremonies have had their heads shaved. So Paul was suggesting to women in his time period not to follow pagan customs.

Also note that S. Paul says "11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." This is the point that S. Paul is actually trying to make: "preserve what is actually the true meaning for the creation of "man-sex" and "woman-sex" from God: Be different in nature but at the same time be united in Christ".
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« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2005, 03:28:22 AM »

It's weird, but I find that in the west it is mostly converts who cover their heads, but in the east (specifically Romania) the split is more of an age thing. Old women always wear headscarves, younger ones usually don't. The same is true for men wearing hats outside and doffing them in church. If you're ever in Romania be very wary of getting into a taxi if the driver wears a hat. At every single church or shrine they pass they'll take both hands off the wheel, doff their hat with one hand and cross themselves with the other - very scary if you're doing 40 down a country lane!

As for the 'dowdy' scarf knotted under the chin look, in Romania that really is the excusive preserve of old women. The young ones tend to knot them at the nape of the neck, which is much more fetching (or so my wife leads me to believe!). Personally, I'd agree with those here who suggest that women try to fit in with the common practice in their parish. I don't really think it's a big deal to go uncovered. Strangely, though, I think I'd probably critricise a man for entering a church with his head covered. Maybe it's because of my upbringing (I was sent to military school and so constantly had to remove my military cap on entering the church after parade), but I think it's the height of disrespect. I'm troubled to find myself being so inconsistent. Never mind.

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« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2005, 11:29:11 AM »

As far as little girls having their heads covered...
Whatever people may think, it's not a Old Russia tradition, but a New Russia (post 1990) tradition. 
Back in the day, when a woman was married, the next Sunday there was actually a ceremony where a scarf was put on her, as a mark of her new position in the community as a married woman, giving her new status and respect. I've been meaning to locate the actually ceremony in old Russian service books, but whenever I think of it, I don't have time, and when I have time, I don't think about it.

Random Old Russia fact: Girls traditionally wore their hair in 2 braids, when they married, they would have 1 braid.

(BTW, seeing infants with their heads covered drives me bonkers).
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« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2005, 11:56:34 AM »

lpap,
Thanks for jogging my old memory. This headcovering issue surfaces in our home as well. I can understand my wife not wishing to wear the doilie-thingie the oldtimers wear in her ACROD parish and she says she'll cover her head "when Pani does"...no help there.
What your post did do was remind me of parts of a very good piece I found on the internet early last year, written by a convert who objected to the requirement.
I found the piece to be excellent, bookmarked it. then downloaded the page totally to my hard-drive,... then reformatted the dumb drive 6 months later without backup. Embarrassed
The gist of her article was her realizing that the headcovering was symbolic of the willful act of submission of the Theotokos before the Archangel at the Annunciation. That this symbol of submission did not entail oppression by her husband but her willful acceptance "before the angels' of her honored place in Creation and the role she had to fulfil as an Orthodox wife and mother.
It was beautiful.
Now to find the piece again...
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« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2005, 12:39:06 PM »

Interesting thread. I decided to join discussion.. I have been thinking this headcovering subject a lot. In my parish only few women wear scarves. I tried in the beginning but stopped at some point, sometimes I wear sometimes not. This angel part that they would be incapable to see men from women without a scarf as a mark part is totally new to me. What's its origin? Does anyone know? Huh
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« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2005, 01:05:23 PM »

As far as little girls having their heads covered...
Whatever people may think, it's not a Old Russia tradition, but a New Russia (post 1990) tradition.
Back in the day, when a woman was married, the next Sunday there was actually a ceremony where a scarf was put on her, as a mark of her new position in the community as a married woman, giving her new status and respect. I've been meaning to locate the actually ceremony in old Russian service books, but whenever I think of it, I don't have time, and when I have time, I don't think about it.

Random Old Russia fact: Girls traditionally wore their hair in 2 braids, when they married, they would have 1 braid.

(BTW, seeing infants with their heads covered drives me bonkers).

Interesting.  I read something on-line (I think from that Old Believer ROCOR parish in Erie, PA) that said that all girls should wear a scarf once they are not infants in their mother's arms.  I also saw a photo of a ROCA priest and his family.  All of the girls wore scarves. 
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