What does head covering mean in Christianity?

Do you know why Christian women always cover their heads in the Church? Check out this article to find out!

christian head covering

During many centuries of the church history, women were covering their heads while meetings of the church. Every Christian culture and every historical period of church had their reason for women to wear a veil on the head.
Let us figure out what are the main reasons for Christian women to cover their heads in the temples.

Early church

early church head covering

The women of early church anonymously practiced the head coverings. An early Christian writer named Tertullian wrote that the Corinthian church was still practicing head covering. This was only 150 years later than the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.
An early theologian Clement of Alexandria wrote that the woman and the man are ought to go to church attired: “for this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled.”
Hippolytus of Rome was giving instructions for the church meeting, when he claimed that all the women must have their heads covered with an opaque cloth.
Jerome (347 - 420 A.D.) wrote that Christian women in Egypt and Syria did not go with heads uncovered in defiance of the apostle’s command and they head to wear a close-fitting cap and a veil.

Historic Catholic practice

catholic headcovering practice

The requirement that women cover their heads in church was introduced as a universal law for the Latin Rite of the Church for the first time in 1917.
Some have argued that it is still obligatory, advancing several grounds for their opinion aside from the immutability of Holy Scripture, including the claim that headcovering for women is a centennial and immemorial custom.
Some religious orders such as the Benedictines and the Carthusians use the hoods of their habits to cover their heads during certain parts of liturgies.

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Current Eastern Christianity

eastern christianity

Certain Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches of the Eastern Christianity still require all the women to have their heads covered while visiting the church. Russian Orthodox Church is a perfect example for this practice.
In addition, Albanian women of Christianity are obliged to wear the veils, which necessarily have to be white color. What’s also interesting, in that nation the women and the man are usually separated by the latticework during the service in church.
In Greece, the obligation for women to cover their heads in veils was gradually declined during the 20th century. Nowadays only the old Greek women cover their heads in the church, not forgetting of old traditions.
Another interesting fact is that the orthodox nuns have to wear the head coverings permanently. They have a special name for these veils; they are called “apostolniks”. It is the only thing that can distinguish them from Orthodox monks.

Current Western Christianity

western christianity

At the onset of the 20th century, women of the Continental Europe and the Northern America have worn the head coverings during all the church services. Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches were included to the number of confessions practicing the headcoverings.
Anyway, in the North America, this practiced began to decline, except for the conservative Mennonites and Amish and the Traditional Catholic church.
Female representors of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church are only allowed to lead the prayed and teach when there is no baptized man is able to and must have their heads covered. Only the male member of Jehovah’s is available to remove his hat or other headcovering.
Mormons which are also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints practice the following: women are obliged to veil their faces during any services or ceremonies in the temple.

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