Questions about modest dress in the Eastern Church

I’m interested in finding out more about head covering and modest dress traditions I’m somewhat familiar with traditions in the Western Church and I’m curious to know about the Eastern churches traditions. Can anyone direct me towards any articles on the subject? Does anyone know where I can find any photographs of women’s head coverings used by the Eastern churches?

It depends on the individual church for how seriously they take it, but in my experience the headcoverings are basically the same in both the east and west.

that’s very interesting I did not realize there are so similar. Is it like that in the Orthodox traditions as well? I’ve noticed in at least one of the Coptic Orthodox churches they would not allow women to where the traditional Catholic mantras so that’s why I thought the tradition was different in the Eastern churches. Thanks for your reply.

This is completely anecdotal data, I admit, but, I have only ever seen head scarves worn in the US. The place they have been most prominent is in an ROCOR parish I know. There are a couple of women who wear them to the nearby Antiochene Orthodox parish that I often attend. There are a couple of women who wear them in my home Melkite parish. I have never seen them worn during the Liturgy in Egypt or Lebanon.

Head coverings were worn by most women in Greece when I lived there in the 80’s. Also when traveling in Russia and Romania I witnessed a large number of women cover their heads in church (maybe 80% or so), At the Coptic Orthodox parishes in the US I have been to all women covered their heads and they did wear a Mantilla just like the Latins wear. My experience in Egypt is just the opposite of Badaliyyah most of the women did cover their heads, some with scarves some with Mantillas.

wow what a fascinating conversation the Eastern churches are so fascinating it seems like there is always something new to learn. Thanks for sharing.

You know there are NO Turkish martyrs? Turkish = Muslim.
There are Christians in Turkey but they are Greek, Armenian etc. not Turkish. No Christians in Turkey consider themselves Turkish, maybe a Turkish citizen but by no means Turkish.:slight_smile:

that statement is a reference to the you tube video I cited. Anyway I’ve learned not to discuss anything relating to Turkey on this thread. I do not wish to discuss Turkey on this thread. I learned my lesson already so please don’t bring up Turkey.the last thing I want to do is get in another arguments about Turkey. I found that people just end up saying I’m not Catholic or other hurtful things and I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. I’m tired of it.

Really? I should tell my guide who took me on my trip through Turkey, the nerve of that guy, believing himself to be both Turkish and Christian. :mad:

Edit: Having read Aydan’s response to that post I think it best to just drop the subject.

I have been to Turkey many times and deal with a lot of Christians there. They would find it an insult to be called Turkish, they see themselves as Greeks or Armenians. Its the same with the non Coptic Christians I know in Egypt, they see themselves as Italians or French or Greek, never as Egyptian. Egyptian = Muslim

I will now drop the subject out of respect for Aydan’s feelings. :wink:

That all sounds right to me. I don’t think one should generalize from the Melkites to other Eastern Catholics or Orthodox. As Nine_Two said, it varies across the Churches. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Melkites (and Maronites) are among the least likely to use head coverings.

I probably should have clarified that I was speaking of Melkites in Egypt. From what little knowledge I have of the Copts, I am not surprised, at all, to hear that the Coptic practice is different, though I have no first hand experience of it.

see this is exactly what I’m talking about this is why I don’t want to go here I’m not talking about being a Turk at all I’m talking about being a proud American who is proud of the fact that I speak Turkish because I love Turkey and it is important to my Christian faith without Turkey I would not be the Catholic I am today. I went through enough pain on the Hagia Sophiathread just for expressing my opinion I really don’t want to go through this again. Can we please just drop the subject?

Yes I thought you might be Egyptian because of your signature but I wasn’t sure as a sidenote I’m very interested in learning Egyptian Arabic and I hope I will be able to someday. Do the Melkites use the word Allah for God?

Yes, that is right.

The signature is the Trisagion, and the word ‘Allah’ appears there as well, obviously. In a Melkite liturgy in the States, for instance, Arabic, Greek and English will be used, interspersed throughout. So in one and the same Liturgy, you will hear the word ‘Allah’, ‘Theos’ and ‘God’ all used.


Up until fairly recently, at least in the Slavic churches, a woman’s headcovering was determined by her position within the village community itself.

A woman’s headcovering told wether or not she was eligible for marriage, married, married with children, married with grandchildren or a widow.

[LEFT]This foto shows a Czech family. The woman in the middle is the mother and is wearing the headcovering of a married woman with children. The girl on the left is her daughter and only a child, the reason for the ribbons. The girl on the right is the other daughter and is eligible for marriage, hence her headcovering with ribbions, flowers, beads and metallic trims.

Hope this helps…


that’s really interesting this is the first time I’ve heard of it. Thank you for sharing. I found your information to be very helpful.

Locally, Old Believers in southcentral Alaska still wear distinctive headgear by marriage status.

Eligible females tend to wear a banded veil; many wear the traditional dress, the sarafan, often in modern fabrics.
Married females a more scarf-like veil, tied in the back.
Youth nothing or a hair band.

Young men wear rukhavi, with more ornate decoration once of marriage age; married men tend to wear hats, often of the fishermans slouch cap style, and tend to have much more needlework on the cuffs and collars of their rukhavi.

And this isn’t just for church… they wear traditional garb even in the public schools. They maintain a 17th-18th C culture… in the midst of the 20th.

Many of the villagers also wear the rukhava/sarafan; those villages tend to mix it with mukluks, and the kuspuk as an overgarment, but with only a scarf for church, tied under the chin for wives, and behind the head for eligible girls.

that’s really neat this is something I can certainly relate to because although I don’t use my head coverings for social status purposes I also cover outside of the church as well I cover whenever I leave the house unless I’m at a family function.I think this social status element of head coverings is very interesting.

It was not only about social status.

The most important part of a traditional wedding in the Slavic lands was the “capping” ceremony where the bride’s female relatives remove her wedding headpiece, plait her hair into a single braid and then put on her marriage cap or headpiece. This single act changed the bride forever. By putting on the marriage cap, she was no longer a girl or a child, but a woman, an adult and an important part of the village community:thumbsup:

Just a suggestion here, but you night want to point out that the Slavic head coverings for women are not “religious” per-se, but are, rather, a cultural thing. None of them are the equivalent of a chador or a burka (or any of that ilk). :wink:

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