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Author Topic: Scarves Worn During Communion and no shoes a Must for Women??  (Read 5110 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timos
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« on: June 13, 2005, 02:48:41 PM »

Hi, a couple of times at church, my sister and my mom were taking communion and they didn't want to wear the scarves because the sacrves offered there were so sheer that it looked rediculous. It was really a communion cloth because al the real scarves ran out. I know that St. Paul says that women should cover their heads in worship services...but if a woman wants to take communion would a priest deny her the right just because of somethign so trivial? My mom and sister are not babies which they would complain about it. They were just wondering if they could do so without the veils. Also, the whole take off your shoes during communion is not practical at all when the floor is slugish and wet during winter months. I know in the Greek tradition, shoes are not taken off, even by the priest in the altar (sometimes they have their own set of altar shoes) but women wearing pants or no veils are sometimes turned away. Also, even during summer months, I don't feel comfortable taking off my shoes and getting my socks all dirty. I mean, where is the balance between worship and common sense? Sorry if I come out sounding attackign the traditions. I am not, just trying to find a balance. Timos
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TomS
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2005, 03:15:05 PM »

Hey! At my GOA Church none of thios stuff you talked about is followed. Heck, the young girls go up in midriffs and mini skirts and many of the hotty-totty Greek women wear low-cut tops and short skirts.  It's the 21st centruy, baby!
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Salpy
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2005, 04:02:48 PM »

I think what is required for Communion differs according to the church or parish.  You really should discuss this with your priest.

Here in the U.S. a lot of people in the Armenian Church don't take off their shoes during Communion, even though removing shoes is supposed to be the tradition.  The priest and deacons, however, always remove their shoes when serving at the altar and wear special slippers instead. 

At my parish, some lay people remove their shoes when they partake, and some don't.  I remove my shoes, as I want to show respect for the Sacrament because it is so holy.  It is sort of like Moses removing his sandals before the burning bush.  I think it is a nice tradition. 

I would imagine it being uncomfortable when the floor is sluggish and dirty, but, ironically, that is what taking off our shoes is meant to prevent.  The idea is not to bring the filth we step in outside into a holy area.  My church is carpeted inside, so the floor being sluggish during rainy weather is not an issue.  If more people than yourself are unhappy about the condition of the church's floor during liturgy, maybe the idea of getting a carpet can be raised.

As far as covering hair is concerned some women in my parish cover during the liturgy and some don't.  When it comes to Communion time, a basket with extra veils is put out so women with uncovered hair can cover.  Those who choose not to do so are not turned away, but most do cover their hair before taking Communion.  Again, I think it has to do with showing respect for something holy.  If your mom and sister don't like the veils at the church, they may want to get their own and keep them in their purses until Communion.  There are a lot of pretty scarves out there and it is cleaner than wearing one that has been on other people's heads.

I know what Tom means about women approaching Communion in midriffs, short skirts and low cut blouses.  I think a lot of women just don't think about it or know any better and the Church could do more to educate on this topic.  Someone at my church made the comment that some women need to take the veils off their heads and put them over their tummies.  Smiley  A couple of weeks ago, my church put out a leaflet discussing appropriate dress, not only for women, but also for men. Hopefully, that will help.
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Tikhon29605
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2005, 04:21:44 PM »

Heck, the young girls go up in midriffs and mini skirts and many of the hotty-totty Greek women wear low-cut tops and short skirts. 

 Shocked  Oh my! We don't have that issue at my parish. And Father would not even have to open his mouth. Our "no nonsense" babushkas would give those ladies in midriffs and low cut tops a proper scolding.
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SeanMc
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2005, 04:38:29 PM »

Quote
Here in the U.S. a lot of people in the Armenian Church don't take off their shoes during Communion, even though removing shoes is supposed to be the tradition.

In Western culture, it's considered just plain rude to take off one's shoes, especially in a church (mainly due to the English sensibility).

I've also seen the shoes-off-during-mass part being done by some Asians at a Traditional Catholic Mass I went to. I suppose it's an Eastern thing.
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cizinec
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2005, 06:03:35 PM »

I've never seen folks in my Serbian church take off their shoes.

. . . and if they don't do it in a Serbian church, well, that's all that should matter to anybody.
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 06:21:20 PM »

I've never seen folks in my Serbian church take off their shoes.

. . . and if they don't do it in a Serbian church, well, that's all that should matter to anybody.

Nah, no elitism here. Wink
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Salpy
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2005, 06:47:53 PM »

So I guess Moses wasn't a Serb?  Grin
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Timos
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2005, 08:15:56 PM »

Tikhon29605, no offense but thats horrible. But then again I come from a Canadian parish which might be a tad bit mroe conservative than American society. Not really, but just a bit.
If a girl walked up ot the altar in midriffs and short skirts, our priest would either tell them to dress properly without giving them communion if it was a habit or just give them a warning.
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Stavro
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2005, 12:17:04 AM »

Quote
Our "no nonsense" babushkas would give those ladies in midriffs and low cut tops a proper scolding
Who is a babushka ?  I like their "no nonsense" attitude, even though it is not clear to me who they are.
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2005, 12:35:22 AM »

"Babushka" is Russian for "grandmother."  We have them in the Armenian Church too, but we call them "mairig," which means "little mother."  I think they exist in all Orthodox churches.  You know who I mean: the little old ladies all dressed in black from head to foot, bent over, four feet tall.  You think they are fragile until you do something improper in front of them and then they beat the cr*p out of you.  I've seen them deal with immodestly clad women in my church, but to no avail.  The problem is just too pervasive.
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2005, 12:48:51 AM »

For the Coptic Church practices, I might be able to help with the following explanations:

- As for taking off the shoes when taking communion, it has a simple meaning. It does not matter where communion is taken, whether in the women suite of communion (mistakenly called the altar, for it is not part of the altar) or outside it. Location does not matter, but the presence of God and feeling that one is approaching his Holy Body and as such approaching God himself is the dominent factor.
There are biblical references to taking off the shoes when God is present, and the most known incident in which this happened is when Moses was ordered by God to take off his sandals when he approached the God manifested in the burning bush. As such, and because we firmly believe in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, we follow the same example. In Egypt, in many places till this day, some people take off their shoes during the whole liturgy as sign for the presence of the Lord.

- The head scarf for ladies and women is a biblical command as you pointed out, yet the Great St.Paul was not concerned with the hair of the woman as much as with an involved teaching.
The man is the head of the woman as St.Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 11 "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.." In the church, in the presence of the Lord himself, a woman covers her head, the man, who is full of sin, in the presence of the Lord, the Head of all. Slightly related to this is the fact that the priests, head of their church, a Bishop, head of the diocese and the Pope, head of the Church , when praying the liturgy, cover their heads. They indicate that it is the Lord who is the Head but they are his stewards. It is not about the hair itself. ÂÂ

I understand that some issues such as taking off the shoes are not always convenient, yet I believe that understanding the meaning of such practice changes the attitude towards it. It is also true for the long hymns and there are many in our Church . I used to get bored from the long hymns and the repetitions in the liturgy or on special days such as the Good Friday, a day when the service is about 12 hours with many hymns such as Omonogenis, Tai Shori, Bek Ithronos that take half an hour to chant. When I researched the origin of such long hymns, that are related to heritage but have a deep spiritual meaning and in have theological reflections, I began to actually enjoy them. A phrase in the Gregorian liturgy that is repeated three times , each time with a different melody and tone, seemed to be excessive. Once I understood that the Church has arranged it that way because the first melody signifies the sorrow over sins, the second repenetence and thirs tone is a symbol of joy for Lord's mercy, I began to enjoy the spiritual meaning that comes with chanting such hymns.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2005, 01:05:04 AM by Stavro » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2005, 01:01:29 AM »

Salpy,
thanks for the clarification. Yep, they exist in all orthodox churches, the Coptic version is called "Teta".
As for the problem you pointed out, improper appearance, it is an identity problem, and it shows on the surface in the form of improper behavior and clothes that are not fitting for church but extends to very important faith related matters.
Lord have mercy.
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In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. (Isaiah 19:19)

" God forbid I should see the face of Judah or listen to his blasphemy" (Gerontius, Archmanidrite of the monastery of St. Melania)
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2005, 01:37:09 PM »

Salpy,
thanks for the clarification. Yep, they exist in all orthodox churches, the Coptic version is called "Teta".
As for the problem you pointed out, improper appearance, it is an identity problem, and it shows on the surface in the form of improper behavior and clothes that are not fitting for church but extends to very important faith related matters.
Lord have mercy.

In Indian Orthodox, the traditional dress for women always has an extension to cover the head. So, it was easy for the Orthodox Church to adapt to Indian tradition of women covering head.  Both 'saree' and punjabi type of salwar etc. has extension to cover head, which is used widely by Indian Orthodox women.  Removing shoes is essential part of Indian tradition.

-Paul
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Cephas
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2005, 12:13:34 AM »

Salpy,
thanks for the clarification. Yep, they exist in all orthodox churches, the Coptic version is called "Teta".

Ahh yes Teta's, they are amazing.  And all Tetas are the same to, now matter what.  But don't forget about the bassah (the look).  Those are deadly, especially if you are doing something wrong.
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Salpy
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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2005, 02:12:19 AM »

I know what you mean by "the look."  The mairigs at my church are experts at it and I have been on the receiving end of it a couple of times.

What amazes me the most about these women (babushkas, mairigs, tetas) is the strong faith they have in spite of the very hard lives they have lived. 

These are women who have survived war, famine and genocide, doing things they would normally shrink from doing, to keep their children alive, safe and fed.  They've given birth under conditions women in this country can't even imagine.  Some of them have had abusive husbands and some have witnessed the deaths of their own children due to the harsh circumstances they have lived under.  These are women who have gone without food so they could feed their families. 

It is because of the hard lives they have lived that they are so tough.  I mean these are women who could have a face off with an armed soldier and the soldier would lose.  I give them my full respect and make sure not do anything to make them angry.  I think even the priests are a little afraid of them.

And yet they have the strongest faith of anyone I have ever known.  My priest calls them his "cheerleaders" because of their attitude toward Christ.

I, on the other hand, have lived a life without any real hardships and whenever something goes wrong my first instinct is to blame God and question my own faith in Him.  What a spoiled brat I am!  I need to think more about the faith of these wonderful women and learn from their example!
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paul2004
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2005, 06:03:01 PM »

Women cover head not only for communion, but during the entire liturgy, normal prayers at home and when they are near the Catholicos or a Bishop. This is how it is followed in the Indian Church, though some younger generation people forget to do this infront of Bishops.

Peace

Paul

 
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Tags: proper behavior teta mairig babushka yia yia head coverings communion Coptic Orthodox Church Armenian Church Indian Orthodox 
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