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Author Topic: Question concerning Head Coverings  (Read 1291 times) Average Rating: 0
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FatherRob
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« on: January 07, 2006, 05:36:52 PM »

Hello!  A new poster here... not a member of any of the Orthodox Churches, but I wanted to ask a question concerning headcoverings in the conduct of the celebration of Divine Liturgy.

St. Paul says that a man wearing a headcovering while praying brings dishonor upon himself. 

I attended a Syriac church once where the priest explained that they removed their head coverings for the Gospel and for the Lord's Prayer, because they were the direct words of the Lord.  When I asked him why they wore them in prayer when Paul said not to, the priest said, "The Church, as custodian of both discipline and Scripture, has the right to enforce discipline that may seem to be in conflict with the Scripture."

I found the explanation to be lacking, mainly because it sounds a lot like the Episcopalian bishop of Pennsylvania, Bennison, who, when challenged by an orthodox parish in his diocese for his involvement in the 'consecration' of Gene Robinson said, "The Church wrote the Bible, and the Church can darned well rewrite the Bible whenever she chooses."

Can anyone provide me with a reason that this particular Pauline custom is despensible in the Eastern tradition?

Thanks,
Rob+
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2006, 06:00:13 PM »

Dear FatherRob,

I would be very interested in knowing which Syriac church you visited, and which priest gave you this information.  I've never seen the "hat" (called "phiro") removed during prayer.  The reason for this is that it is considered not a headcovering per se but a liturgical garment.  It is, essentially, a skullcap composed of seven triangular pieces of cloth, and it symbolises the priesthood.  For this reason it is kept on. 

I cannot address the major point of your question, however.  I've always wondered about it myself.   
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FatherRob
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2006, 06:15:59 PM »

Dear FatherRob,

I would be very interested in knowing which Syriac church you visited, and which priest gave you this information.ÂÂ  I've never seen the "hat" (called "phiro") removed during prayer.ÂÂ

I was at St. Demetrios in Knoxville.  Not sure which body they are affilliated with, just read the preface of their Qurbana book and recognized the Liturgy as Syrian (which the book noted).  Several of the clergy were wearing phiros, which they removed for the Gospel and the Lord's Prayer, but the principal celebrant wore something that looked a touch more like a short russian hat (can't recall the spelling of the name).  I have more personal experience with the Antiochean Maronite Rite which makes use of a very tight-fitting monastic hood (as opposed to a zuchetto or phiro) and the Mitre (for Chorbishops and Bishops).  They remove both the hood and mitre for the Anaphora, but wear them in all other prayers.

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I cannot address the major point of your question, however.  I've always wondered about it myself.  ÃƒÆ’‚  

Glad I am not the only one!

Rob+
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2006, 06:33:22 PM »

I was at St. Demetrios in Knoxville.  Not sure which body they are affilliated with, just read the preface of their Qurbana book and recognized the Liturgy as Syrian (which the book noted).  Several of the clergy were wearing phiros, which they removed for the Gospel and the Lord's Prayer, but the principal celebrant wore something that looked a touch more like a short russian hat (can't recall the spelling of the name).  I have more personal experience with the Antiochean Maronite Rite which makes use of a very tight-fitting monastic hood (as opposed to a zuchetto or phiro) and the Mitre (for Chorbishops and Bishops).  They remove both the hood and mitre for the Anaphora, but wear them in all other prayers.

Upon some investigation, it seems that that church is not affiliated with either the Church of Antioch or the Church in India, both of which follow the Syriac rite, nor with any of the Catholic Syriac rite Churches.  I could not personally call it a "Syrian" church, and I'm not surprised there are divergent practices there. 

I cannot speak for Maronite tradition: I am not familiar with them, and they are a slightly different breed of Syrian. 

Bishops in the Syrian tradition are interesting, as they have more than one "headcovering".  They use the phiro, the monastic hood (eskimo), and a vestment called a masnaphto, which corresponds to the Greek mitre, but is more like a hood.  During certain parts of the Liturgy, only the latter is ever removed.  The others stay on.   
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An eloquent crafter of divine posts
And an inheritor of the line of the Baptist
A righteous son of India
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Intercede for us, that our forum may be saved.


"Mor is a jerk." - kelly
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