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Head Coverings

It has also been commanded that the head should be veiled and the face covered; for it is a wicked thing for beauty to be a snare to men. Nor is it seemly for a woman to wish to make herself conspicuous, by using a purple veil. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.266

And she will never fall, who puts before her eyes modesty, and her shawl; nor will she invite another to fall into sin by uncovering her face. For this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.290

Demanding then a law of God, you have that common one prevailing all over the world, engraved on the natural tables to which the apostle too is wont to appeal, as when in respect of the woman’s veil he says, “Does not even Nature teach you?” – as when to the Romans, affirming that the heathen do by nature those things which the law requires, he suggests both natural law and a law-revealing nature. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 96

Christ is the Head of the Christian man – (for his head) is as free as even Christ is, under no obligation to wear a covering, not to say a crown. But even the head which is bound to have the veil, I mean woman’s, as already taken possession of by this very thing, is not open also to a crown. She has the burden of her own humility to bear. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 102

But that point which is promiscuously observed throughout the churches, whether virgins ought to be veiled or no, must be treated of. For they who allow to virgins immunity from head-covering, appear to rest on this; that the apostle has not defined “virgins” by name, but “women,” as “to be veiled;” Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 687

“Every woman,” said he, “praying and prophesying with head uncovered, dishonors her own head.” What is “every woman”, but woman of every age, of every rank, of every condition? “Every man.” As, then, in the masculine sex, under the name of “man” even the “youth” is forbidden to be veiled; so, too, in the feminine, under the name of “woman,” even the “virgin” is bidden to be veiled… For indeed it is “on account of the angels” that he said women must be veiled, because on account of “the daughters of men” angels revolted from God. Who then, would contend that “women” alone – that is, such as were already wedded and had lost their virginity – were the objects of angelic concupiscence, unless “virgins” are incapable of excelling in beauty and finding lovers? Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 688

Why do you denude before God what you cover before men? Will you be more modest in public than in the church? Be veiled, virgin, if virgin you are; for you ought to blush. If you are a virgin, shrink from (the gaze of) many eyes. Let no one wonder at your face; let no one perceive your falsehood. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 689

Nay, rather banish quite away from your “free” head all this slavery of ornamentation. In vain do you labor to seem adorned: in vain do you call in the aid of all the most skilful manufacturers of false hair. God bids you “be veiled.” I believe (He does so) for fear the heads of some should be seen! Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.22

It behooves our virgins to be veiled from the time that they have passed the turning-point of their age: that this observance is exacted by truth, on which no one can impose prescription – no space of times, no influence of persons, no privilege of regions. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.27

Throughout Greece, and certain of its barbaric provinces, the majority of Churches keep their virgins covered. There are places, too, beneath this (African) sky, where this practice obtains; lest any ascribe the custom to Greek or barbarian Gentilehood. But I have proposed (as models) those Churches which were founded by apostles or apostolic men. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.28

“If any,” he says, “is contentious, we have not such a custom, nor (has) the Church of God.” So, too, did the Corinthians themselves understand him. In fact, at this day the Corinthians do veil their virgins. What the apostles taught, their disciples approve. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.32-33

But even if it is “on account of the angels” that she is to be veiled, doubtless the age from which the law of the veil will come into operation will be that from which “the daughters of men” were able to invite concupiscence of their persons, and to experience marriage. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.24

And as they veil their head in presence of heathens, let them at all events in the church conceal their virginity, which they do veil outside the church. They fear strangers: let them stand in awe of the brethren too. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.35

For some, with their turbans and woolen bands, do not veil their head, but bind it up; protected, indeed, in front, but, where the head properly lies, bare. Others are to a certain extent covered over the region of the brain with linen coifs of small dimensions – I suppose for fear of pressing the head – and not reaching quite to the ears. If they are so weak in their hearing as not to be able to hear through a covering, I pity them. Let them know that the whole head constitutes “the woman.” Its limits and boundaries reach as far as the place where the robe begins. The region of the veil is co-extensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound; in order that the necks too may be encircled. For it is they which must be subjected, for the sake of which “power” ought to be “had on the head:” the veil is their yoke. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.37

Arabia’s heathen females will be your judges, who cover not only the head, but the face also, so entirely, that they are content, with one eye free, to enjoy rather half the light than to prostitute the entire face. A female would rather see than be seen. And for this reason a certain Roman queen said that they were most unhappy, in that they could more easily fall in love than be fallen in love with; whereas they are rather happy, in their immunity from that second (and indeed more frequent) infelicity, that females are more apt to be fallen in love with than to fall in love. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.37

To us the Lord has, even by revelations, measured the space for the veil to extend over. For a certain sister of ours was thus addressed by an angel, beating her neck, as if in applause: “Elegant neck, and deservedly bare! it is well for you to unveil yourself from the head right down to the loins, lest withal this freedom of your neck profit you not!” And, of course, what you have said to one you have said to all. But how severe a chastisement will they likewise deserve, who, amid (the recital of) the Psalms, and at any mention of (the name of) God, continue uncovered; (who) even when about to spend time in prayer itself, with the utmost readiness place a fringe, or a tuft, or any thread whatever, on the crown of their heads, and suppose themselves to be covered? Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.37

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