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Wearing hats in the Liturgy

peterfarrington

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I'm interested in the use of priestly headgear in the Church. I have read Ramz Mikhail's excellent paper on the subject, and it seems that priests only began to wear hats under Syrian influence in the Monastery of the Syrians in the 11th/12th century and it spread from there, at first being criticised and then being enforced as time passed.

Since I still find it very hard to justify the use of hats, other than in obedience of course, I am interested in the historical justification, if there are such texts from the Middle Ages. Even the first rubric of the Raising of Incense says... the priest uncovers his head.

The paper by Ramez is here...

https://www.academia.edu/27373780/And_They_Shall_Stand_Bare-Headed_The_Historical_Development_of_Liturgical_Headgear_in_the_Coptic_Rite
 

Antonis

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I was excited to read this, but it's unavailable to me.  :'(
 

Remnkemi

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Obviously if the rubric says "the priest uncovers his head", it implies that the priest's head is usually covered. Thus, it can be implied that the use of priestly headgear was the norm.

However, following Ramez's other article "Towards a History of Liturgical Vestments in the Coptic Rite: I - Minor Orders, Deacons and Presbyters", it is clear that multiple customs fluctuated between priestly and diaconate covering of their heads to non-covering. The Coptic custom shows a shift from Laodocea Canon 23 (ban against wearing orarion) to explicit use of an orarion in the rubrics. It shows both the movement from multiple customs merging into one universal custom as well as a universal custom multiplying in different locales. All of this corroborates Baumstark's first and second laws of comparative liturgy, as Ramez noted. The first law states liturgical development proceeds from multiple customs to a single custom with retrograde development into multiplicity and not the other way around. The second law states liturgical development proceeds from simplicity to increasing enrichment, followed  by a retrograde development of abbreviation.

Thus it is no coincidence that we see priestly head covering going from bare headed to simple coverings to more elaborate coverings. We also see multiple customs (i.e., both covered and non-covered) proceed to a universal acceptance of head covering with some retrograde movement (back to multiple customs). Every Apostolic Church has priestly head coverings during liturgical rites (including Byzantine, RC, Armenian, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, etc). Thus we should not find it difficult to justify the use of head coverings. It is now pretty much universal and there is no pressure to return to bare headed priestly services.

If, however, you are looking for historical data for the symbolic use of head coverings, we can reference the Precious Pearl (as Ramez did). "And as for the vestment of the  priesthood, it is seven pieces as the number of the orders of the Church. These are first the tunic [tūnyah], and the explanation of the tunyah is the light of the sanctuary; then, the ṭaylasān, in the likeness of Aaron the priest, for God commanded him to put on the ṭaylasān in the tabernacle; then, the third is the girdle [zinnār], by which the priest pulls together his waist; then, the two sleeves, which free the hands of the priest for the transfer of the holy mysteries; then afterwards the sixth piece is the epitrachelion [biṭrashīl]. The priest hangs it on his neck, and the interpretation of biṭrashīl is a thousand rocks; then the seventh piece, which is the  phelonion [burnus]. If he were a high priest, the phelonion is with a hood [qaṣlah] on his head, and if he were not a high priest, the  phelonion is without a hood."
As one can see, the reason for liturgical vestments is to complete their number to seven to compare it to the seven orders of the Church. Each vestment is then given symbolic meaning. Head covering is used "for God commended him to put on the taylasan in the tabernacle". Thus, the use of head covering is seen as imitation of God's commandment to Aaron to never enter the tabernacle bareheaded (See Exodus 28:43).

There are other historical examples but I think this suffices. The head cover for priests and deacons has a long tradition to at least the 10-12th century in Coptic Egypt.
 

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So in the Pauline model, the priest basically becomes a woman to approach the Gifts.
 

peterfarrington

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Remenkeni, you are missing the point I think. The rubric is to uncover the head when about to pray - which is what I am concerned about.

The custom of covering the head in worship comes late and I am looking for justification for breaking the Pauline command which the rubric retains.

I am not interested in vestments, and Ramez is very clear that the practice of head covering began in the 11th/12th century. This is what I am looking for. Justification for changing the ancient tradition. You've just repeated what I said, and what we have learned from Ramez.

But the 12th century, in Orthodoxy, is not ancient, it is a innovation that still requires a justification. Many people ask me why we break the Pauline command and there is no decent answer that I have found.
 

peterfarrington

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The text you referenced is only a justification of a practice, we have many such post-facto justifications of things. But it does not really justify it because the vestments were not created at once to be seven, that is a later explanation of the contemporary practice.
 

Luke

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I am EO.  I have seen visiting wear hats but take them off during services.
 

Antonis

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Father Peter said:
The text you referenced is only a justification of a practice, we have many such post-facto justifications of things. But it does not really justify it because the vestments were not created at once to be seven, that is a later explanation of the contemporary practice.
It's also interesting from an EO perspective in that "entering the tabernacle" is precisely when priests are not supposed to have the hat on, in that it is removed for service to the altar and put on for censing, litis, and other actions taking place outside of the beautiful gates.
 

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Father Peter said:
Remenkeni, you are missing the point I think. The rubric is to uncover the head when about to pray - which is what I am concerned about.
Since I can't find the exact rubric from Vespers that you referenced, I can't comment. But it is pretty clear that there was a transition from bare head to covering during liturgical services and possibly back to bare head. If I had to guess, it may have to do with another one of Baumstark's laws: when pressures do cause significant changes, the practice remains in the most solemn occasions. Thus, uncovering the head could have been reserved for specific times in Vespers alongside the shift to cover the head during services.

The custom of covering the head in worship comes late and I am looking for justification for breaking the Pauline command which the rubric retains.
And in Ramez's article there are plenty of examples of rubrics to cover the head. Very rarely is there an actual justification other than the one I referenced (or something similar to it)

I am not interested in vestments, and Ramez is very clear that the practice of head covering began in the 11th/12th century. This is what I am looking for. Justification for changing the ancient tradition. You've just repeated what I said, and what we have learned from Ramez.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by your first sentence. The taylasan is a head covering. You're wearing one in your profile picture. By the 13th century it was considered as part of the liturgical vestments. As justification, the symbolism that is given is God's commandment in Exodus 28. Scant evidence of head covering (phelonion, burnus, ballin, apomis, ardi) did appear in earlier manuscripts from the 7-8th centuries but not universally.

Additionally, Ramez is hypothesizing that the practice of head covering began in the 11/12th century mainly due to the Syrian  Monastery. There is no evidence that says "Before the 11/12th century, Coptic priest did not wear head coverings or hats because in the 11/12th century so and so happened and so and so is the reason for head coverings."

But the 12th century, in Orthodoxy, is not ancient, it is a innovation that still requires a justification. Many people ask me why we break the Pauline command and there is no decent answer that I have found.
And you seem to be missing the point of Baumstark's comparative liturgy. The reason why there are liturgical hats is because the organic development of liturgy proceeded to the custom of wearing liturgical hats. It is irrelevant when it happened. The fact is every Orthodox church has some form of priestly liturgical hats (obviously there may be some outliners who practice liturgy bare-headed but that's irrelevant). It is also pretty much established that liturgical pressures cause some retrograde divergence. So while giving an answer to people who ask why we break the Pauline command is an example of liturgical pressure, it doesn't logically follow that the whole Church is breaking the Pauline command or should go back to bare headed services. On the other hand, there was some sort of unknown liturgical pressure that retrograded the practice of priest wearing the girdle, the sleeves and the burnus (cape with hood) in the Coptic rites. It may have nothing to do with theology either but it was significant enough to cause an organic development.

How can wearing head coverings during services be considered an innovation if every Orthodox and Apostolic Church has head coverings during services?
 

peterfarrington

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How can wearing head coverings during services be considered an innovation if every Orthodox and Apostolic Church has head coverings during services?
Because it is irrelevant what others do to a great extent if a particular community is seeking to preserve the Tradition. We are one of the last who do not (try not to) transfer bishops. This is a good thing. That others transfer bishops all the time is not a good thing. It is possible to make these judgements. Otherwise we are left saying that because everyone transfers bishops it has now become Orthodoxy. But it has not.

Ramez shows that there was resistance to covering the head from the Church but over a period this changed to an insistence on covering the head. There must have been argument/discussion during this period.

I now see many priests celebrating without the stole, their true priestly vestment, and this is becoming universal in some dioceses. But this also does not make it right. And I know that some now justify not vesting as a priest by the practice they have experience of. I am sure this is how hats came in too. But we end up doing things because we do them and they can no longer be challenged than because there is a good reason.
 
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