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Why Do Orthodox Women
Wear a Headscarf in the Temple?
Christian traditions prescribe women to enter the temple with their heads covered. However, now it concerns only the Russian Orthodox Church. For example, female believers enter Greek cathedrals without hats.

The Bible

The fact that women who converted to Christianity, during prayer, should cover their head with a handkerchief, says the Gospel of the Apostle Paul: Every wife praying or prophesying 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 cut, and if the wife is ashamed to be cut or shaved, let her be covered… (…)Judge for yourself, is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered?"
In this epistle, the Apostle Paul set forth for the Corinthians an explanation of this rule: "... A husband should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, and the wife is the glory of the husband. For it is not the husband from the wife, but the wife from the husband; and not a husband is created for a wife, but a wife for a husband ... ". Accordingly, covering her head with a handkerchief, a Christian woman recognizes the primacy of her husband and adheres to the established order — accepts the Lord through her man and honors him as created in the image and likeness of God.

Apostolic Epistle

As is known, the teaching of the apostle Paul that women should cover their heads during prayer belongs to the section "messages to the people of the city of Corinth". In the middle of the first century, the apostle arrived at this seaside polis from Athens and found the first Christian community there. However, for the rest, it was still a pagan city of the Roman Empire.

The Eric Nustrema Biblical Encyclopedic Dictionary reports that in the first centuries of ad in Corinth there was one of the largest temples of Aphrodite at that time. Servants of the cult of this pagan goddess were ritual harlots. Any man who got intimate with them, thereby committed the act of worship to Aphrodite. A distinctive sign of all these harlots was a shaved head. Meanwhile, historians studying the Bible suggest that girls transferred to the worship of the pagan goddess as a child could later hear the sermons of the apostle Paul and accept them. But turning to the Christian religion and community, it is clear that these women still physically remained hairless for a long time.

And now the message of St. Paul "…if your wife is ashamed to be shaved or shaved, let her be covered…" says a little about something else. To turn in prayers to Christ when the you are marked as a harlot is shameful both before people and before God. That is why the apostle recommended covering all women's heads, without exception "…if the wife does not want to be covered, then let her hair cut…". After all, all women, including those who repent of their sins, are equal before God and loved by them equally.

Greek Tradition

In the Greek Orthodox churches, one can observe that women always pray with their heads uncovered. When entering the church, everyone, regardless of gender or age, even if they have hats on their heads, take them off. This tradition is not so ancient, it exists less than two centuries and is related to the national liberation struggle of the Greeks against Turkish domination. In the first quarter of the XIX century, Greece fell under the power of the Ottoman Empire and all women were instructed to appear on the streets and in public places in the hijab, even if they were not Muslim. Greek women, like men, protested against the violent Islamization and attended Christian services at night. At the same time, the Greek women took off their hateful headscarves as a sign of freedom in Christ.

Since then, it has become an important religious and national tradition. As for the message of the Apostle Paul concerning the covering of a woman's head, the Greek priests point out the fact that nowhere in the Gospel is it stated that women are forbidden to enter the temple without a headdress. So, the Greek women do not violate religious rules.

Russian Woman and Her Headdress

In Russia, since the spread of "Domostroy" - a collection of advice and instructions of the Russian man on social, family and religious issues of the XV century, the tradition remains, when "...not the husband was created for his wife, but his wife for her husband ...". An Orthodox Christian woman, even if she is not married, enters a temple with her head covered. Thus, she demonstrates her humility.

However, Russian Orthodox priests have recently been increasingly asserting that a woman's headdress in the temple is her own business and a legitimate right to demonstrate her attitude to centuries-old religious traditions. And let a woman enter the temple without a handkerchief and with sincere love turn to God, rather than not cross the doorstep of the temple at all.