Headcovering as Podvig

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24 Responses to “Headcovering as Podvig”


  1. 1 Ann Washburn December 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I am not Orthodox Christian, but I am Christian, not of any particular denomination at this time. I cover all the time that I am awake, and from your description of podvig, I believe that my reasoning is similar. I cover because I am a woman, and woman reflects the glory of man, and mankind’s sin is what necessitated God sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. My headcovering is my acknowledgement that I am a sinner and it is my submission to God’s grace.

    There are no churches in Everett, WA, where I live, that actively support women’s headcovering. I wish that I could find one!

    Thank you for this video. I look forward to part 2!

  2. 2 Jennifer Rachel December 14, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Thank you for this video. I really appreciate your thoughts on this. I’m a catechuman in the Orthodox Church as well. I’ve been attending a Greek Orthodox church and I’ve asked some of the ladies there as well as my priest about why no women wear headcoverings in the Divine Services. I assumed that it was part of the tradition of the church for ladies to cover, but what I have found and what I have been told is that whether or not an Orthodox woman covers is based on the cultural identity of the particular church. At least in the Greek Orthodox jurisdiction, women don’t cover and really never have, as far as I know. Antiochians generally don’t either from what I’ve seen, although they can be a mixed bag. It seems like headcovering is a practice that is retained by Russian, Serbian, and Romanian Orthodox. Maybe it has something to do with geography?

    My priest told a hilarious story once- its one I will never forget. He was visiting another Greek parish and the priest there was requiring women to wear a headcovering. He gave 1 Corinthians 11 as a precedent. What Father Steve (my priest) pointed out was that this priest had long hair (as many Greek priests do). So he told this guy, “if you’re going to require these ladies to wear a headcovering based on 1 Corinthians 11, then you’d better let me make you an appointment for the barber because you need a haircut baby!”

    With that said, let me also add that I LOVE this practice in the Church and I wish that more Greek Orthodox women would adopt the veil. After all, did not the Mother of God cover her head? If we look to her as the “prototype Christian”, why would we not want to emulate this trait of humility and modesty? Its a very convicting idea, at least to me.

    My husband, who does not share my convictions on either Orthodoxy or headcovering, gets a little weird when I cover during my prayers. Its a very strange custom to him… but so is crossing oneself, prostrations, incense, candles, icons… its a very fine line to walk.

    Anyway… sorry to ramble. Great video! Can’t wait for more of them! Its wonderful to have someone to walk along with on this journey. It can be very lonely at times, so I look forward to your posts!

    • 3 Anna December 14, 2009 at 9:09 am

      Jennifer,

      When you said that the Greeks/Antiochians do not wear a covering *here* in the United States because of cultural differences, I had a chuckle. Yes, the culture HERE is different but THERE is not. Shall I call to mind the archetypal Greek Ya-Ya? I understand the once Islamically yoked churches might be stand-offish to not appearing Islamic. Yeah, but there are multitude of ways to wear a headscarf so as not to appear Muslim. And is just tying on a silk scarf for a couple hours while inside a church building all that burdensome?

      Priests giving the cultural excuse are tiresome at best and at worst, I would be tempted to give them a saintly hissy fit. GRRR> 😀

  3. 4 Reza December 14, 2009 at 8:15 am

    There are several Orthodox Churches near Everett Washington.

    In response to Anna, I think you could also view it through the lense of the Russian Fools for Christ, like St. Xenia of St. Petersberg. I’d also like to point out that traditionally, going back to the councils, the concensus was that women should veil inside and outside of Church. In the modern era, many traditions were lost.

    When His Holiness Pope Kyrillos VI, became Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, he brought back the tradition of doing liturgy daily, as it had been cut down to weekly due to persecution, etc. He’d practiced it daily on his own before that, but after being patriarch was put in a position to impliment it throughout the Church. At the beginning it wasn’t welcomed by everyone, but his love for Christ and his neighbor changed people’s hearts.

    Most people dont’ know but Orthodox Christians used to believe in a natural burial [no embalming] like Muslims but it has disappeared, particularly in America.

    The modern Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg and Yerkhoturye [russia] said, “the reluctance of the majority of Orthodox women to wear head coverings in public is a departure from the Will of God. I cannot understand this. Why, Muslim women are not ashamed of doing this, even the little girls and teenagers. They shall tell you that they are always in Allah’s presence, and they do not wish to provoke Allah’s anger. We should have this same salutary fear of God in our hearts”.

    …for a woman to cover her head is “a law of God. The Lord Himself commanded that women should cover their heads in public. If a woman does not wish to do this because the majority does not do so, because she does not wish to ‘stick out like a sore thumb’, she is greatly mistaken. You should not look at what others are doing; you should attend to what you are doing yourself”.

    “If everybody became filled with a healthy fear of God and a desire to carry out His Will, then, without a word, all our women would go in public with their heads covered. I say that there is nothing dishonorable or slighting to women in this”.

    “The Lord gives us beauty and we go and disfigure it, for what reason, I don’t know. This is fraudulent and it is a total misunderstanding of what true beauty is. Look how lovely unadorned simplicity is! Look at our sweet little girls. Why do you put makeup on them when they are already as beautiful as angels? Look at how we spoil the looks of people by using cosmetics!”

    This is a highly respected bishop in Russia, not just a parish priest that has gone rogue. He recognized the traditions within the Orthodox Church that is being lost. This isn’t to say that we should judge women that don’t do it, but it’s to say that we should encourage those that do, and raise our daughters in light of this knowledge.

    “Children contract their first spiritual colds from the open windows of their parents’ senses. The mother passes on her cold especially when she is not modestly dressed and scandalizes her children with her behavior.” – Elder Paisios the Athonite

    St. Cyril of Alexandria – The angels find it extremely hard to bear if this law [that women cover their heads] is disregarded.”

    St. John Chrysostom, in recognizing that women were leaving the tradition behind, even in Church, wrote that there are angels inside and outside of Church but so much more inside of Church, so if ever a time that it’s important, it would be inside of Church. St. John Chyrsostom, in his writings, goes as far as to say that it’s “no small error” and that it’s “disobedient”, not to condemn but to emphisize it’s importance.

    St. Clement of Alexandria even goes as far as envoking modesty, “”And she will never fall, who puts before her eyes modesty, and her shawl.. For this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled”, just as Tertullian did with his writing, “the veiling of the virgins”.

    These issues are sensetive, particularly in light of their disappearance in the modern world. If I were to give advice on re-instigating it’s application into the Church, I’d say to treck gently and modestly.

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    It should begin between a woman and her husband. It should be their convictions that are forefront in their own spiritual life. If you’re familiar with Father Serephim Rose’s book, “Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future”, you’ll notice that he takes many stances against teachings that lead in a different direction this his own convictions.

    He particularly targets Pentecostal/Charismatic “gifts”, that individuals in the Greek Orthodox Church, often times priests, have endorsed/embraced. Regardless of if it’s unpopular, he follows his convictions that are grounded in the traditions of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Orthodox Church. He was a heiromonk, so he was in a position of addressing the problem but individuals can also take their own stances, in their own lives, even if their not in a position to be verbal as he was.

    In the context of a congregation, that should be left to the parish priest and the bishops. Sin is defined in the Greek text as “missing the mark”, as you may have heard in your own Orthodox Church. Everyone misses the mark, that’s the point in Holy Communion but we should continually strive towards Holiness. Not everyone is at a point that their willing or able to embrace an ancient tradition, such as headcovering, that has faded from standardization.

    In light of the tradition of headcoverings, having faded, I’m inclined to view headcoverings like the standardized fasting and the hourly prayers.

    Most people in the modern era and American particularly [since we’re spoiled], don’t take the ritual fasting as seriously as they should. Rather then point out their sin, we should testify of the truth with our lives, as the Orthodox saying goes, “Minister to everyone that you come in contact with and if necessary use words”. This is what the Saints did.

    In the Orthodox Church there are hourly prayers. In ancient times people memorized these and prayed them daily, not just monastics but everyone. Most in our modern era, and particularly in America, don’t take these that seriously, mostly just praying them in Church. Given that several of the people that raised me were Muslims, this particularly attracted me to Orthodoxy.

    As Archbishop Vikenty pointed out in his writings that I’d previously mentioned, Muslims are incredibly devout in their religion but traditionally, Orthodox Christians are more devout. There is no secrete to this, many Islamic traditions were taken from Orthodox Christians [Syriac] and altered. Christ had liturally drawn me, and my family, into the Church through a long period of time, because of this devotion. I’d read about the Saints and what they’d gone through, their miracles and it was irresistable.

    After I’d been convinced of the Church, that went hand in hand with a desire to learn the traditions of the Church. I’m very passionate with everything in life, so naturally I was passionate in teaching my daughters of headcovering, but I was also passionate about learning the hourly prayers in order to make Orthodoxy a lifestyle, not just something that we do.

    In the Orthodox Church, we’re told that the Holy Eucharist is for the remission of our sins but we’re also told that many Saints had never taken it in their lives, [St. Antony] or had only taken it once [St. Mary of Egypt]. These individuals were saints as all others, but had a different sort of communion between themselves and God. Most of their biographies emphisize a strict adhereance to the Jesus prayer, amongst other prayers.

    Thou I don’t have the hourly prayers memorized, I believe their is a great importance in them that people have lost and before my demise, I’d like to memorize and become a fluent part of my lifestyle.

    ….I didn’t anticipate this being so long….opps…

    Reza

    • 5 Anna December 14, 2009 at 9:15 am

      “Minister to everyone that you come in contact with and if necessary use words” Sigh. St. Francis of Assisi said this. Not Orthodox, but practical. 😉

  4. 6 Kristie December 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Very good comments so far 🙂 I watch the video last night (along with several others 🙂 ) and while I am not Orthodox, I totally get what you are saying! The longer I cover, the more I feel it is much more about obedience for me, than just the whole 1 Corinthians 11 verse. If that even makes sense. For a long time I has an internal struggle with covering, and God made it clear that I was to do this for Him, not for anyone else. He has used it to make things clear to me, especially with all my internal struggles. He is definitely using it to accomplish things in my life 🙂

  5. 7 Jennifer Rachel December 14, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Well, my priest is far from lazy… he just has a different opinion about head coverings- as most Greeks in America do. He’d be the first to say that the Orthodox (as a whole) do not have a hard and fast rule about covering, but that if you as an individual feel he need to cover, then you should. After all, Greek Orthodox monasteries in America require women to wear coverings at all times while they are at the monastery.

    I’m not being critical here, by the way. I think the custom is great and I wish more folks in my parish would do it. However, if I end up adopting the veil, I am also grateful that I probably won’t get a second look from anyone.

  6. 8 Reza December 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Anna, I’d often heard the quote from Orthodox Priests/Monks but it could have originated from St. Fransis, thou most Orthodox wouldn’t necessarily deny his Sainthood either. I’d like to go further thou and say that it’s the orthodox way and has been the orthodox way long before St. Francis had said it.

    In terms of the Greek Orthodox Cultural Debate. It has nothing to do with laziness, more to do with not wanting to appear to be Islamic, but most significantly is it’s casual disappearance from the Greek Rite. In the modern generations, weather in Greece [it’s not just in America] or in America, it’s not about rebelling against the tradition, so much as that it’s never been a tradition according to the farthest memory of the people. It’s often not thought of as a tradition that has disappeared so much as a tradition that never was, because it’s been gone for so long. I have a friend that lives in Cyprus and she said that people are literally hostile towards women that do wear a headscarf because it’s been gone for so long in their churches.

    ————————————————————-

    In terms of the “long hair debate”, it’s important to point out that many monks do grow out their hair, but this is in a different context. It’s in the context of being dead to the world to the point of neglecting one’s own body. It’s a form of ascenticism. It cannot be used to deminish the teachings of St. Paul.

    What is most beautiful about Orthodoxy is that we don’t believe in Sola Scriptura [Bible alone]. Therefore the context of “headcovering” as mentioned in the Bible, doesn’t apply to every circumstance. In Protestantism, the Bible is the corner stone of their faith, in Orthodoxy it’s the Church and variations within the different Churches isn’t a threat to the faith.

    In the Bible, it’s often misunderstood that tattoos are forbidden, but in the context of the Church, it is acceptable, as Christians have been tattooing the cross on their bodies [IE: Copts get tattoos on their wrists and Ethiopians get tattooes on their foreheads].

    The Ethiopian Orthodox liturgy venerates the ark of the covenant, in which is still has possession of the original, while the other churches do not in their liturgies.

    The Ethiopian Orthodox Biblical Cannon is the largest of all Orthodox Churches [88 books], where as the Syriac Orthodox is the shortest of all Cannons, yet their in complete communion. There is no contradition here.

    My prayer is for the Greek Orthodox to return to the tradition of headcoverings, atleast during liturgy but everything in good timing. It’s not my responsiblity, and it’s not uncommon to see dramatic changes within the church [IE: all of Russia coverting to Orthodoxy]. I’m not going to say that it will happen, but the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church could be enlightened on this point [if he hasn’t already], and see it as an important tradition to emphisize again, thou at the moment I’m sure there are more important traditiions that should be emphisized.

    I’m not saying that it’s not important, but to put it into perspective, the condition of the Church. The Church used to have young men and women actively persuing the monastic life to the point that they were lined up around the block. Thou there is a rejuvination of monasticism going on right now, in the previous years it has deminished.

    More important to the priests/bishops/patriarchs at the moment then headcoverings is getting the younger generations and the adults going to church regularly, and taking communion regularly. This goes for all of the different rites and communions within the Orthodox Church.

    Reza

  7. 9 suzy December 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Just wanted to say. I really appreciate your blog. And all the comments here on this post. I am Catholic. I cover for mass and have felt called to cover during penitial times such as advent and lent too.
    I could relate to much of what you were saying. Particularly the points about how hard and humbling it can be to feel like the odd one out at times.
    God Bless and thanks so much for sharing your story.

  8. 10 Dawn December 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    In reading a headcovering article on a Catholic website not too long ago, it stated how the Church used to have a table or box in the back of doilies or coverings for the ladies if they forgot theirs at home. They simply return it back to the box or table after Mass was over.
    It would be a neat thing to see Catholic and other liturgical churches do that again. But I guess first they would need to preach and teach on it. 🙂

  9. 11 Anna Lindsey December 21, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I particularly appreciate the thought of “I cover my head so as to protect the work that God is doing in my heart.” May God bless you on your journey through the catechumenate to full communion within Christ’s Body the Church. Let us commend ourselves, each other, and all of our lives unto Christ our God such that we may fully discern and receive with joy our podvig, both individually and collectively. We do not struggle alone.

  10. 12 Tamara March 26, 2010 at 1:43 am

    I found this via Google looking for more reasons for veiling from the Fathers (St. John Chrysostom specifically). I was surprised to see “Everett, WA”.

    I live out between Granite Falls, Marysville and Lake Stevens. But I take the bus down to Seattle (Ballard) every Sunday morning (and other holy days…) to attend Mass at the Church of the North American Martyrs, a traditionalist (FSSP) Catholic parish.

    Most, but not all, of the women in my parish veil, mostly with lace chapel veils (white or black, sometimes ivory, pink or blue), a few scarves and maybe a couple hats. This is in contrast to most modern Catholic parishes where you *might* see one or two women wearing a veil, particularly older women.

    If you are ever interested in visiting, feel free. The Traditional Latin Mass is beautiful, meaningful, and deeply prayerful. I’ve done Evangelical, High Anglican (Anglo-Catholic), Modern Catholic; I’ve visited various other Protestant denominations, I do sadly lack first-hand experience of the Eastern Rites (mostly because I’m too chicken to go by myself…) but of the liturgies and forms of worship that I have seen, the Traditional Latin Mass is definitely the most conducive to prayer and communion with God (the High Anglican Mass is the second best, but then again, it’s largely similar to a Traditional Catholic Mass…).

    Wearing a veil in a parish that has largely rejected the practice or in Evangelical parishes where few people even realize this is a long-standing custom, you are acting as a sign of contradiction to the spirit of the world which is opposed to humility and modesty and is also fundamentally opposed to what a woman is. That is why it is important in both a social and a spiritual sense to wear the veil so we can show the world and show God that we belong to Him.

  11. 13 indrani July 16, 2010 at 12:36 am

    With sincerity and no disrespect to the Greek priest who said headcovering was never a practice among Greek Christians, he simply does not have the facts straight that there was no “hard and fast rule” about head-covering in the church, or that it was never practiced by the Greeks and was a slavic tradition (which would mean it arose centuries after St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Because of course, St. Paul was writing about the importance of head covering to the *Corinthians* who were Greeks, and doing it long before the slavic churches were in existance. The Greek monasteries have not adopted this practice as an innovation in order to imitate a good idea from the slavic monasteries. And you can see the older Greek ladies at church still covering. It is the younger generations that abandoned it. Again, with absolutely no disrespect meant to the priest, but he is mistaken in these facts, it is not simply a matter of how one views it. Now, in the modern sense, yes, the practice of covering in parish churches can go according to what that particular priest may instruct or most likely, is a matter between one’s self and God and one’s spiritual father. So in that sense, it is not a hard and fast rule – but only now, in very recent times. As in, post 1960’s feminism times 🙂

  12. 14 Antonia August 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    To begin with, I am not at all negative about the concept of covering at all times. Please do not think that !

    For a number of years, I have sought citations from either the Holy Fathers, or from the contemporary elders, to support the proposition that an Orthodox Christian woman should cover at all times. I have consulted conservative priests, also. Nowhere can I find anything that supports this. I cannot find any evidence that the injunctions for a woman to cover apply to other than while she is in a church, on monastery grounds, or when praying in a home before the icons (ones own home, or when visiting another home). These are the rules which I follow for myself.

    I know a tiny number of Orthodox women who cover at all times. Always, these have been women who converted from a fundamentalist-type Protestant sect. They were covering already, or else they eagerly became caught up in a generalized “recreate the past” mentality. In European and Middle Eastern Orthodox areas, the head covering for women existed historically both as a religious practice and as a cultural (related to wearing apparel) practice. An overlap of two practices, in other words, if I understand correctly. I am left to wonder whether the U.S. Orthodox converts who choose to cover all the time possibly are failing to distinguish between religious practice and general societal practice. When I enquire about how a woman reaches the decision, I am provided only passages which address the situations that I noted earlier (in church, at a monastery, praying at home).

    I certainly believe that there is room within Orthodox Christian life for a woman to cover at all times — IF she has a blessing from her confessor and/or from her spiritual father (with the concept of a spiritual father being another badly misunderstood topic here in America). The confessor would have to sense that this practice would be spiritually beneficial for that individual woman. Yet it seems very strange that I can find no written confirmation from patristic or contemporary conservative sources.

    Thank you for considering my remarks, and thank you if you chance to have any useful information to share ! Again, I pray that you recognize that I write this from a peaceful spirit of genuine interest.

    In Christ,

    Antonia

    P.S. I have not watched your video clip because our computer speakers are broken.

  13. 15 Antonia August 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for accepting my previous post.

    I reread a post by Reza, in which she referred to the practice of embalming. In the U.S., Orthodox Christians are trapped by state laws regarding death. After repose, an Orthodox Christian should lie in the church until the third day, when the funeral occurs. State laws often dictate embalming, in order to have an open casket. This law, prompted by health fears, I assume, creates problems for the Orthodox. Among those problems is the desecration of the human body entailed by the embalming process. As best as I can remember what I read some years ago, the reposed person’s blood is drained from the body, and (I think) latex injected to the circulatory system. I do not know how the blood is disposed of, but I’ll bet any amount of money that it is simply thrown away, which dishonors the body and is sinful. Laws from multiple states kick in when a body is transported across state lines to be buried. Again, embalming is required. In sum, whether American Orthodox know, or do not know, that the Church teaches a “natural” burial, is a moot point. The civil government overrules the Church in this instance. Very sad. I worry about my own death, whenever it may occur, because I emphatically do NOT want to be embalmed.

  14. 16 Reza August 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    In regards to Embalming, I should add that different states of have different laws. Some states require it, most [you’d be surprised] do not, unless you are taking a body across state lines. I should add that in most cases, laws on freedom of religion overrule all other laws [IE: Vaccines are often state and federal laws but are overrulled where it is against someone’s religion].

    Muslims are also against embalming and guess what, they are never embalmed when they are buried because it goes against their religion.

    Reza

    • 17 Antonia August 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      Dear Reza,

      Thanks for your reply ! As I noted earlier, yes, the laws vary from state-to-state. In Texas, where I live, the state overrules any religious opposition to embalming. Hence, an open casket requires embalming. (Closed casket does not require it.) We do have freedom of conscience regarding vaccines. I refuse the use, for example, of those vaccines which derive from aborted babies. When I need documentation of status for my children, we obtain a certificate from the state government and have a notary public attest to our “opting out” from particular vaccines.

      Antonia

  15. 18 Reza August 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Antonia: I’d re-check your state laws, because I know that Muslims are naturally buried in your state. In regards to an “open-casket”, I never truly dug into that issue much, as it hasn’t been of much interesting to me.

    I think that if it was truly persued, religious law could and would override civil laws [even in the case of open caskets].

    I should note Antonia: In Texas, they just passed a law in which 9 year old girls have to get a shot of guardacil [by law] but religious law overrides that, thou the state officials don’t broadcast it to the world [because they want to uphold their own standards].

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    Back to the headcovering issue, you mentioned that you couldn’t find any Church father’s references and bishop references to headcovering outside of prayer. Have you read what I wrote about the Metropolitan Bishop in Russia that said that women should cover their heads outside of just prayer in Russia? He said it was because the Lord instructed it. Then there is also the long list of Church Fathers quotes like St. Clement of Alexandria, who said that women should cover.

    In Christ,
    Reza

    • 19 Antonia August 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      Hi, again. Where would I find that “long list of Church Fathers quotes” you reference? Thanks!

      I did notice your anecdote about the Russian bishop. I just did not know whether this was an instance, such as those I wrote about, when historical culture overlapped with religious teaching, leading some to conclude that “everywhere covering” actually is the religious teaching. He says that “The Lord instructed it” — however, I feel ok about wanting to have documentation, to know whether this is an oral tradition, or is specified somewhere. (I hope you have understood that I am conservative in my understanding of the faith, and am not just trying to spar verbally with folks.)

      I am not aware of any Texas law regarding Gardasil. (I just did a quick double-check before typing this.) The governor tried to implement a law (in 2007) and negative public outcry blew him away. My daughter’s pediatrician raised the issue (when dd was only ten), and knows that I will not be allowing that vaccine.

      The embalming issue has crossed my path a few times during recent years, when local Orthodox people have died. Hence my interest. In particular, I realized that the disposal of the drained blood ought to be of high concern to all Orthodox Christians.

      Thanks again for your friendly replies !

      In Christ,

      Antonia

  16. 20 Reza August 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see veiling as an issue of “heaven and hell”, more so as people moving closer to Christ by making Orthodoxy a lifestyle.

    I believe that if morality is turned into a “heaven and hell” sort of situation that it turns into heresey, as the Bishop says here: http://vimeo.com/7342423

  17. 21 Reza August 8, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I’m not sure that you can find a “list” perse online, but you can find original documentation. Let me find some for you right here:

    St. Clement of Alexandria wrote much about it, but here is one particular:

    For neither is it seemly for the clothes to be above the knee, as they say was the case with the Lacedæmonian virgins; nor is it becoming for any part of a woman to be exposed. Though you may with great propriety use the language addressed to him who said, “Your arm is beautiful; yes, but it is not for the public gaze. Your thighs are beautiful; but, was the reply, for my husband alone. And your face is comely. Yes; but only for him who has married me.” But I do not wish chaste women to afford cause for such praises to those who, by praises, hunt after grounds of censure; and not only because it is prohibited to expose the ankle, but because it has also been enjoined that the head should be veiled and the face covered; for it is a wicked thing for beauty to be a snare to men.

    There are others that have spoke on it too, like Blessed Augustine, St. John Chyrsostom, and many more. I haven’t studied this subject in quite a while so I’m not as useful as I’d like to be, but if you search you can find resources.

    Thou Orthodox do not consider Tertullian to be a Saint [because he converted to Montanism] many of his writings are considered useful. A particular article that he wrote was called “the veiling of the virgins” for which I think would be worth reading if you have the time.

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    In regards to the Bishop, his comments were made reciently, in which he was trying to encourage people towards Orthodoxy. If you do a google.com search you can probably find the time, date and location for which he said it. It was to a modern audience.

    I’m going to say that you’re correct in seeking out higher counsel/research for such a decision. Due to it being so removed from society, it can become a hinderance if not done under the proper environment. You should seek out further documentation for this particular subject, just as people should if someone tells them that it is not important. I also would not encourage it to be practice in church without the blessing of the priest.

    The holy Syncletica said, “I think that for those living in community obedience is a greater virtue than chastity, however perfect. Chastity carries within it the danger of pride, but obedience has within it the promise of humility.”

    If, for instance, something as beautiful as chastity can become prideful, so I should caution that modest dress/headcovering could become. This is what I meant by, “morality can become heresey”.

    Modesty in and of itself, would caution against doing so without the blessing of one’s priest in church. We’re told that St. Marcarius defeated the devil with nothing more then modesty, so that also includes the heart, which is more important. You obviously are conservative with your faith, to which I highly respect and pray that you continue doing [I don’t think that you’re trying to spar with folks, you’re truly an Orthodox Faithful]

    -_

    In regards to the Texas Law for Gardacil, it may have since been overturned [for which I hope and pray that it has] but I’m not so sure. Here is some articles about it:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16948093

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1782135/posts

    I’m a parent of 3 girls [and a baby on the way] and I’m with you, I would never allow a doctor to inject my daughters with such a chemical so dangerous as gardacil [for which many have died or suffered paralysis]. However it’s not just gardacil, it’s also other vaccines, such as hepotitus and the general mentality of pushing chemicals upon children through state laws, that are unnecessary.

    I’m quite thrilled that you [and a few others that I have come in contact with] are studying about the embalming issue because more then headcoverings, I believe that it’s one of those traditions that is most neglected amongst Orthodox Christians but to which is very important.

    In Christ,
    Reza

    • 22 Antonia August 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      Dear Reza,

      First off, I should apologize to the blog owner for conducting private e-mail on her own Internet space. I don’t know how else to converse with you, however. My prayers that I have annoyed no one !

      Thank you for the links about Gardasil. I have just confirmed, through assorted hits from a Google search, that Texas does not require administration of the vaccine to girls entering the sixth grade, even though the still-sitting governor tried to mandate it back then. The state legislature overturned the governor’s effort almost immediately. That is what I was remembering had occurred. My family would not have been affected, in any event, because I homeschool our daughter.

      Thank you for taking the time/trouble to type out the excerpts which you shared regarding head covering. I shall print out the post, best as can, and add it to personal files. The more that I learn, the better ! I hope to benefit from ongoing reading, and from the observations of sober-minded people such as yourself. For the present, though, I’m thinking that I just shall continue to cover at church and during house-based prayers, and continue to dress conservatively as I always have done. Our family needs and issues at this time require my full concentration. To focus on myself with the intensity required to make a major change — about this specific issue, I mean — would feel self-centered and selfish. At this point in time.

      To God be the glory !

      In Christ,

      Antonia

  18. 23 Laurenn January 26, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I too believe that women should veil outside of Liturgy. I plan to be chrismated into the Eastern Orthodox Church ASAP and I’ve tried wearing my veil outside of Liturgy on multiple occasions. About half the women who attend my church wear the veil during Divine Liturgy and dress fairly modestly, but I feel the main reason American Orthodox women do not veil in public is because they don’t want to be confused as Islamic by society (especially a society that probably has never heard of Orthodoxy). When I wear my veil, strangers always look at me funny; I’ve also gotten extremely friendly reactions from muslim students at my university who probably see me as a convert to Islam (since I don’t look Arab, Persian, or Central Asian).

    I wish, although it is not necessarily “bad” to NOT wear a veil in public, that the matter would be looked at a little more seriously in America. If you go to primarily Orthodox countries like Russia, I’d say maybe 75% of practicing women wear the veil or some form of it at all times. Many members of the clergy, like Archbishop Vikenty, push the issue as I feel they should.

    http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/archbishop-vikenty-of-yekaterinburg-asks-orthodox-women-to-emulate-muslim-women-in-wearing-headcoverings-in-public/

    We really shouldn’t be ashamed to wear a veil in public, as we have done it for 2 thousand years. I’d just hate to see a holy tradition that has be in practice for 2 thousand years start to slowly fade 😥


  1. 1 Headcovering « Walking the Pathless Land Trackback on June 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm

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