About covering the head, or Do women have to pray in a scarf?
Nowadays there is a pious tradition: in the temple, women cover their heads, and men take off their headgear. How did this “prescription” come about? And does it mean that during home prayer women should cover their heads? Is it possible to come to the temple not in a headscarf, but in a hat? Are girls allowed to be in the church bare-headed? In this article we will look at how the tradition of covering the head appeared, what it meant for Christians in the first centuries and how it relates to our time.
What does the apostle Paul say about covering his head?
Among Christians there is a perception that covering the head is one of the main requirements for the appearance of a woman in the temple.
It is supported by the words from the First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head open disgraces her head, for it is the same as if she were shaved.For if the wife does not want to be covered, then let her shave; and if the wife is ashamed to be shaved or shaved, let him be covered ().
Further the apostle revealssense of covering the headjust for women.
First of all,head cover is a symbol of wife’s submission. Submissions to whom? To her husband and God. Just do not take the word "submission" in the sense of family tyranny.
As in the Church Christ predominates, so in the small church — the family — the husband predominates. The primacy of the husband is manifested in his care and responsibility for the spouse and children.
Secondly,head covering indicates the humility and chastity of a woman. In order to better understand the meaning of this statement, one must turn to the historical realities in which the apostle Paul wrote an appeal to the Corinthians.
Why in ancient times did women not dissolve or cut their hair?
Imagine that you are in Corinth І century. This is a rich Greek city with two ports, 700 thousand people, representatives of different cultures and religions. Many pagan temples were built in Corinth, one of the most famous is dedicated to the goddess of love and fertility Aphrodite.In this temple, religious prostitution flourishes. The servants of Aphrodite are easily distinguished by their shaved head.
In addition, not only temple prostitution is common in the city. On the streets you can easily meet prostitutes, they attracted the attention of men loose hair and not hidden under a handkerchief.
That is why the apostle Paul draws attention to the covering of the head for a woman. If you do not want to remind the harlot - wear a hat to avoid seducing a stranger man. If you do not want to be like the servant of Aphrodite, grow your hair, because they are the natural cover of a woman.
So that no one doubts the purity and morality of Corinthian Christians, the apostle recommends covering the head for "praying or prophesying" women. This rule in many churches survived to our time.
What should a modern woman look like in a temple?
Head cover is one of the important elements of the “church dress code”. And it does not matter what kind of headdress you wear - be it a scarf, a scarf, a hat, or a beret. Apostle Paul uses the word"cover", not a scarf, and you can even cover your head with a hood.
Girls and girls (believed to be approximately until adolescence) can be in the temple without a headdress. Even on Orthodox icons, holy women are depicted with a head covered, and girls - without a cover. You can clearly see it on the icon of the saints.the martyrs of Faith, Hope, Love and their mother Sophia.
But today, believing mothers often tie their handkerchiefs to their daughters in infancy so that they “get used”.
If the presence of a headscarf on a woman in the temple is more or less clear, then how should Christians be at home during the prayer time? Is the covering of the head also an important condition here?
Can I pray at home without a scarf?
Even among the priests, opinions on this issue do not coincide.
Most conservativebelieve that married women should cover their heads not only in the temple, because the headdress indicates the humility of the spouse and obedience to her husband. An excellent illustration of this point of view can be found even in the book of Genesis. Rebekah, Isaac's wife, only in the distance saw her future spouse, took the veil and covered herself (Gen. 24:65).
Otherpriests believe that this example should be viewed in a historical and cultural context.The rule of compulsory head covering for women has not been fixed in our cultural code. It’s hard to imagine Muslim women without a hijab, so it’s not easy to imagine all modern women of Slavic appearance in headscarves and scarves. The scarf on the head of a young girl, especially in the warm season, can attract additional attention and tempt others to condemn.
Therefore, there wasthe thirdopinion: it is necessary to cover the head in the temple, and if possible, during home prayer. The Apostle Paul recalled the woman who was praying, without specifying whether she was in church or not.
Archpriest Andrei Efanov believes that covering the head during the morning and evening rules disciplines a woman and helps her focus on prayer.
There is andfourthvision: in the temple, women should pray with their heads covered, and in all other situations it is possible and so. Especially since the apostle Paul calls us to unceasing prayer, that is, to constant remembrance of God. And such a prayer should not depend on external circumstances - the presence or absence of scarves, appearance, mood, environment, geographical location.