Headcoverings in the early Church


does anyone have any information about whether the early Church taught that women should cover their heads all the time, or only in church?

thanks! :slight_smile:

I would think that women usually covered their heads when outside of their homes, but it would more given to the relative lack of water and easy access to hygiene during that time in history, and in that area (dust, sand, etc). Also, a cultural thing since women in Corinth (if you are referring to St Paul’s letter) had been shaving their heads to be “in style” with the pagan women in Corinth and he (St Paul) wanted them to differentiate themselves from the pagans.

Check Tertullian’s On the Veiling of Virgins and keyword search “head” or “hair” and stuff like that. It doesn’t sound like there was a hard and fast rule. Tertillian argues in 16 that virgins should veil their heads, perhaps because in 14 he argued that wary eyes would lust over them otherwise.

See also this keyword search for ECF documents containing “woman,” “cover,” and “head.”

Common use in the whole of the Mediterranean cultures. But I suspect early gallic and teutonic christians had greater female openness.

Did he mean virgins as in anyone who hadn’t yet had sexual intercourse or did he mean virgins in the sense of a consecrated virgin?

I presume from the context someone who hadn’t had sex, because I recall he said in there some women might try to hide the fact that they lost it by continuing to wear head covering. I can’t be sure though.

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