Dress Regulations (chr.)


(Turk. Kılık-Kıyafet Kuralları)

The Christian tradition actually has no specifically Christian dress regulations. There have, however, at times been special regulations within the dominion of Christianity with regard to clothing for non-Christians (and for Jews in particular). All other dress regulations were of a secular-political nature or concerned members of the holy orders. These latter were intended to identify their position within the hierarchy or to specify their liturgical garments. A certain special case concerns the requirement that women wear a veil, as is set forth in the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (11.5-6) and within the context of verses 2-16. With this, Paul introduces the Jewish custom of the wearing of veils to his Gentile Christian communities as well. According to Paul, covering oneself in the presence of others, and discreet and austere clothing, are the marks of a respectable woman, particularly with regard to the religious area of life, when praying and prophesizing. As a result, to this day, it is still the custom in some countries (e.g. Spain) for women either to wear a hat or to place a piece of fabric on their heads (e.g. a handkerchief) during church services. The use of veils in marriage ceremonies (bridal veils) in the Roman Church has also been documented dating back to the 4th century CE. It represents the adoption of the Gentile-Roman wedding custom of covering the bride. Added to this is the practice in convents of viewing the nun with veil as a bride of Christ. There are references to other forms of veil, such as the widow’s veil, in fashion manuals, but there are no religious underpinnings discernible for this practice. Accordingly, the wearing of the veil has fallen away over the course of changes in fashion; in most countries, the same holds true for women’s attendance of church services.

Peter Antes

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