On the Issue of Feminine Modesty

Recently, some of the correspondents on Monomakhos have addressed the issue of women’s attire in church.

Some of the responses to Your’s Truly off-line have taken issue with the opinions that were expressed. As for myself, I was somewhat oblivious to the original comments but once they were brought to my attention, I decided to read them again. I issued a response last night to one of the correspondents. I hope that neither takes umbrage.

Regardless, I dropped the ball. And, given the fact that I just returned from a pilgrimage to a monastery, where all the women were dressed in a modest fashion, somewhat reminiscent of how women used to dress in a more rural setting, I should have been attuned to the critique. Especially because the women that I enjoyed fellowship with were anything but unattractive. Far from it.

By observing the time-honored rules of decorum, there was a refreshing spiritual equality between the sexes at worship and at table. And even between the laypeople and the monastics. It’s hard to explain it but I certainly felt that way. And I think that the proper attire helped us attain that atmosphere nicely. Worship was easier and I discerned no judgmental attitudes that are far too prevalent in many ethnic (particularly Greek) parishes.

Regardless, we shouldn’t criticize women of whatever jurisdiction for trying to dress in ways that would have been normative for their great-grandmothers. It’s hard enough for women in our present pornified culture to avoid the ridicule that is heaped upon them for refusing to dress like the Kardashians or as back-up singers for some hip-hop group. As Orthodox Christians we should cherish those who choose to defy the predominant culture.

That being said, as a man, it’s difficult for me to articulate exactly what should or should not be acceptable. So instead, I’ll turn to Faith Goldy with her “Ten Tips for Catholic Girls”. (Faith is a Canadian alt.journalist formerly of RebelMedia who is of Ukrainian and Greek heritage. She worships in the Byzantine Catholic tradition but her critique is still spot on in my opinion.)

Comments

  1. Greatly Saddened says:

    Bravo and so well said. Once again, thank you GM!

  2. Yipers. “rebel” Zio-Media ? Beware of Trojan Horses. Prager U , S.Molyneux, Ben Shapiro, etc etc etc

  3. OMG, where to begin?

    1. We should not be taking advice on how to dress in church from Uniates (Greek Catholics). The Church is engaged in a fight for its doctrinal integrity against these wolves and they are beneath contempt.

    2. Though she is a cute girl, she should be at home making and raising babies and not advising others on church attire, especially advising men on church attire. Paul did not allow women to speak in church or usurp authority over men.

    3. This is faux conservatism or pseudo-traditionalism. Rome didn’t officially change this until 1983 but during most of the 20th century, head covering was mandatory for Catholic women. https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/what-happened-to-head-coverings-at-mass

    4. Rome is going down the toilet, we need not follow it.

    1 Corinthians 2-10:

    Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

    This was the ubiquitous practice in the (Orthodox) churches of God until late in the twentieth century. It is Sacred Tradition, not custom, and obligatory. It is a sin each and every time it is disregarded.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      I’ve tried several jury cases over the years against women, most of whom had “made babies”.

      I won each of those, but I avoided telling juries in my final arguments that they had no business being in the courtroom and telling any man what he should do!

      I remember the very first time, in 1977. Women lawyers were very new as a social phenomenon. It wasn’t a big case; I got a defense verdict (civil case) but a couple of jurors told me they had carefully watched me for any sign of patronizing her during the trial. Then, as now, it didn’t happen, not least because it was not in my nature to do such a thing, quite apart from my basic intelligence.

      But there were women on the jury! Can you imagine that? What would St. Paul have said? I expect he would have pointed out that they were not in church…..he was a practical man.

      Is there anyone more than Paul who singled out and praised by name the many women who were his fellow-workers in Christ?

    • Constaninos says:

      Gosh, Misha!!
      Do you really hate women that much? She should be home making and raising babies?! Don’t you really mean ” she should be home barefoot and pregnant?”

    • Constaninos says:

      Gosh, Misha!!
      Do you really hate women that much? She should be home making and raising babies! Don’t you really mean “she should be home barefoot and pregnant.??!”

      • These agents wish to provoke just such a reaction as yours Constaninos. What more sacred blessing than to be “barefoot” (with out work-boots and high heels) and pregnant , carrying unique human life , (over-seeing Spiritual home-culture and economics etc etc ) rather than competing with men to earn money to hand over to cultural/social dictators.
        We are called MERELY “breeders” by this worldly/eugenics fueled death cult called progressive liberalism, must we also be demeaned in an Orthodox Blog.

      • Tim and Constantine,

        I stand by every word. I do not hate women in the least. I do not believe they belong in positions of authority over men. You did catch my drift correctly though. I would go back and re-examine everything starting with the Married Women’s Property Acts of the nineteenth century. Not be a democrat, small “d”, the franchise is not an issue for me. I don’t actually believe that even men should have the vote.

        All I can say on my own behalf against the more cosmopolitan sensibilities is that I am pretty consistent in my views and have no doubt that they reflect the consensus of the Fathers and Apostles, were they hear to chime in. All the stereotypical things feminists say, “male chauvinist (pig)”, “barefoot and pregnant”, etc., ad nauseum, apply to me.

        Sexism is good. No surrender, no quarter.

        Feminismum delendum est.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Of what you speak has absolutely nothing to do with “feminism,” per se. Nevertheless, it has everything to do with compromised, insufficient male ego strength and beta-male faggotry. You simply cannot defend a position with the voice of the Holy Scripture or the Patristic Fathers that there is a theological reason that a woman, who is intellectually and intuitively superior to her male counterparts in a given situation, should recuse herself – however one would interpret St. Paul, “Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)” – and allow failure, fraud, or chaos to ensue simply because her “leadership” would ruffle the weak egos of a few men. Quite to the contrary, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Cor. 14:33)

          Believe and “stand” by whatever you wish, Scott, but it is very easy to see how loose and free you are to align the Holy Fathers with you, rather than vice versa. This is an an extraordinarily dangerous practice undertaken by all the heretics known to the Church, while the Holy Fathers always began by affirming, “joining with those Holy Fathers before us…” Secondly, you are already beginning to repeat the familiar process whereby, I am telling you the concepts on which you rely are indefensible by the Holy Scripture and the Patristic texts, others have already begun to tell how ugly and offensive your commentary regrading women has already become. Obviously, many here now were not present for the filth and vulgarity of your last bout. I strongly suggest you drop this mission before you lose control and start that bullshit about spankings, beatings, and the “legitimacy” of sex with your slaves. As Buddy Guy said, “You got my nose open, baby, and I got my eye on you.”

          • 1 Timohty 9-15

            “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

            Chrysostom, Homily 20 on Ephesians:

            “Neither let a wife say to her husband, ‘Unmanly coward that you are, full of sluggishness and dullness, and fast asleep! Here is such a one, a low man, and of low parentage, who runs his risks, and makes his voyages, and has made a good fortune; and his wife wears her jewels, and goes out with her pair of milk-white mules; she rides about everywhere, she has troops of slaves, and a swarm of eunuchs, but you have cowered down and livest to no purpose.’ Let not a wife say these things, nor anything like them. For she is the body, not to dictate to the head, but to submit herself and obey. ‘But how,’ some one will say, ‘is she to endure poverty? Where is she to look for consolation?’ Let her select and put beside her those who are poorer still. Let her again consider how many noble and high-born maidens have not only received nothing of their husbands, but have even given dowries to them, and have spent their all upon them. Let her reflect on the perils which arise from such riches, and she will cling to this quiet life. In short, if she is affectionately disposed towards her husband, she will utter nothing of the sort. No, she will rather choose to have him near her, though gaining nothing, than gaining ten thousand talents of gold, accompanied with that care and anxiety which always arise to wives from those distant voyages.

            Neither, however, let the husband, when he hears these things, on the score of his having the supreme authority, betake himself to revilings and to blows; but let him exhort, let him admonish her, as being less perfect, let him persuade her with arguments. Let him never once lift his hand — far be this from a noble spirit, — no, nor give expression to insults, or taunts, or revilings; but let him regulate and direct her as being wanting in wisdom.”

            And that is the ideal, mutual love and non-violent persuasion by the male of the female in questions on which they differ. However, all is not ideal in a fallen world, and the police cannot be summoned at every instance of serious, even physical, disagreement.

            And I have never insisted on anything more than what St. John Chrysostom states here:

            “The wife is a second authority. She should not demand equality, for she is subject to the head; neither should the husband belittle her subjection, for she is the body. If the head despises the body, it will itself die. Rather, let the husband counterbalance her obedience with his love…Paul places the head in authority and the body in obedience for the sake of peace. Where there is equal authority, there never is peace. A household cannot be a democracy, ruled by everyone, but the authority must necessarily rest in one person.” – ibid

            Ephesians 5:22-24

            “Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the Church: being Himself the Saviour of the body. But as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything.”

            I never address Stankovich directly anymore. No point.

            We can follow Christ and the Fathers in the patriarchy, or we can follow this evil feminist, matriarchal Western world into which we have been born. But the Devil is the Prince of this world.

            • M. Stankovich says:

              And I have addressed you with an indisputable lesson in the Patristic Fathers three times (and a fourth there shall not be), if only because the message of the Fathers does two important things: they notably emphasize – with love – that while Eve did, in fact, source from husband, the Genesis imagery served to teach us that, ultimately, they both came from the identical source, the dust from the earth; and secondly, the summation of “woman” is absolutely nothing like you have ever described – the subservient Aunt Jemimah placed on this earth by a god who needed to “correct” an initial error in judgment: Adam needed a “helpmate.” Instead, the glory, the image, and the Queen of women is Her who before the ages was chosen by our God to be the beginning of our salvation; Her upon whom the angels looked with amazement as she entered the Holy of Holies; Her whose womb became more spacious than the heavens; and Her who is the glory of virgins, the joy of mothers, and the restoration of women, the New Eve. Yours is a sad commentary, false & shallow, void of the simple hymn of all who are saved through Her: “All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace!” Your conclusions are, simply put, offensive, and you stand alone.

            • Misha,
              Why is it you never include both set of directives in Ephesians? You only include the words spoken to the “wives.”
              When undergoing pre-marital counseling, our Priest said that Ephesians 5:22-24 was important. But, the directives given to the Husband in Ephesians 5:25-32 were even more important and also, in many ways, the more difficult calling.

              25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

              26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

              27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

              28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

              29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

              30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

              31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

              32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Misha, Saunca’s right on this. Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians is binding on both.

              • Gail Sheppard says:

                Thank you, Michael and Sauna. For the man to be the head, other truths must prevail. Misha, keep reading. There is a message in here for you, as well.

                60% of marriageable women in this county are unmarried. Those who ARE married are not necessarily married to men who understand headship. Is it any surprise that women in this country are running amok?

                I would challenge you men to help at least one woman who is out there on her own. If you have the time to post here, you have the time to befriend a woman in your parish or in your workplace who may be struggling. Enter into a dialog with her. Ask her about her challenges. Help her if she is unsure about how to make certain decisions. In all things, encourage her and let her know she is loved by God. (More than one man on this list has stepped in when I needed help or guidance and it has been such a blessing to me.)

                Misha, reach out to a woman. Care about what happens to her. Be gentle in your delivery. Be the father or the brother she might not have in her life. Let her know what it feels like to be unselfishly loved by a Godly man and put her first by asking nothing in return. The Lord will bless you for this.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  As usual, Gail, you are a font of wisdom.

                  Misha, be smart; do what Gail says and the Lord will bless you greatly. I know what I’m talking about. The blessings that have accrued to me because I’ve stepped into the breach every now and done what Gail has suggested have been monumental. As a layman who’s an empty-nester, it’s given me a new definition of kenosis. Once empty of yourself however, you are filled with love; it’s inexhaustible.

                  I pray the Lord gives me the strength and discernment necessary to continue along this path whenever necessary.

                  • “Ver. 33. “Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.”

                    For indeed, in very deed, a mystery it is, yea, a great mystery, that a man should leave him that gave him being, him that begot him, and that brought him up, and her that travailed with him and had sorrow, those that have bestowed upon him so many and great benefits, those with whom he has been in familiar intercourse, and be joined to one who was never even seen by him and who has nothing in common with him, and should honor her before all others. A mystery it is indeed. And yet are parents not distressed when these events take place, but rather, when they do not take place; and are delighted when their wealth is spent and lavished upon it.— A great mystery indeed! And one that contains some hidden wisdom. Such Moses prophetically showed it to be from the very first; such now also Paul proclaims it, where he says, “concerning Christ and the Church.”

                    However not for the husband’s sake alone it is thus said, but for the wife’s sake also, that “he cherish her as his own flesh, as Christ also the Church,” and, “that the wife fear her husband.” He is no longer setting down the duties of love only, but what? “That she fear her husband.” The wife is a second authority; let not her then demand equality, for she is under the head; nor let him despise her as being in subjection, for she is the body; and if the head despise the body, it will itself also perish. But let him bring in love on his part as a counterpoise to obedience on her part. For example, let the hands and the feet, and all the rest of the members be given up for service to the head, but let the head provide for the body, seeing it contains every sense in itself. Nothing can be better than this union.

                    And yet how can there ever be love, one may say, where there is fear? It will exist there, I say, preëminently. For she that fears and reverences, loves also; and she that loves, fears and reverences him as being the head, and loves him as being a member, since the head itself is a member of the body at large. Hence he places the one in subjection, and the other in authority, that there may be peace; for where there is equal authority there can never be peace; neither where a house is a democracy, nor where all are rulers; but the ruling power must of necessity be one.” – St. John Chrysostom, Homiliy on Ephesians, 20: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/230120.htm

                    Not an ego thing, I just happen to be correct. If it doesn’t go up, до свидания.

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Shall I quote St. Gregory Nazianzen who says, “I do not accept this interpretation. Was it not unfairly created by men?” So who is the greater saint, Scott, or shall we flip a coin? And didn’t you vigorously complain that I was proof-texting, Scott? Yeah, you did. I say again, if you insist it must “go up,” then your answer is to look up to Her who is the Queen and restoration of all women; the Beauty and contenance of the New Eve; the precious Golden Candlestick; she who is greater than the angels, who were amazed as her spirit was received by her Son into Heaven! You are looking for someone to be subservient, while the Mother of God was subject to her Son – a concept you cannot grasp, Scott. And until you do, до свидания

                    • As much as the above quotation expresses the truth, and as much as I empathize with the basic premise of what (I think) you are attempting to communicate, many of your past comments on this subject make it extremely difficult to conclude that you really understand what it is that the Scriptures and the Fathers teach about headship or the spirit with which it is taught.

                      Forgive the teasing, but every time I read one of these posts of yours, it reminds me of the first twenty seconds or so of this clip.

                      There is far, far more to this subject than merely being correct. When you have demonstrated a grasp of godly hierarchy I will gladly change my opinion.

                    • Gail Sheppard says:

                      Misha & Father James,

                      First, your words literally made my heart sing, Misha, until you emphasized the word fear. I will have to defer to Father James on this, but I believe the word fear in Scripture may be misunderstood. I was taught that it means to greatly revere to the point of awe.

                      With respect to equality/inequality, a man and woman have to work in concert with one another. The man has to approach a woman knowing that he is completely dependent upon how she responds. If she rejects him, he won’t get close enough to her to have authority. If he solicits her cooperation and abuses it, she will pull back and the whole enterprise will fail. Sometimes it’s enough to have something without brandishing it like a weapon and drawing attention to it. It’s one of those things that you don’t have to mention when you handle it properly.

                      Consider a cowboy: A cowboy has the authority over a horse but he won’t be able to ride it if the horse doesn’t cooperate. He has to approach inspire loyalty in the horse and this requires a lot of positive reinforcement.

                      When I was a kid, I used to hang out at a ranch by my home. There was a horse named Rieto who was boarded there but the ranch hands didn’t like her because she was so skittish. She would carry on if they even entered her stall so they let me feed her and water her. I also cleaned out her stall and her hooves every day. Because I was small (I was only 10), she didn’t seem to mind me being in there with her. I’d sing to her, bring her treats and talk to her, something the ranchhands didn’t have time to do. After a while, she began to trust me. I asked one of the guys if I could ride her. He probably didn’t understand English because everyone was shocked when I put a bit in her mouth and climbed on. She wouldn’t let anyone ride her. The only exercise she got was being led around the coral. She didn’t buck when I climbed on and after the ranch hands were sure I could manage her, they put a saddle on her and let me ride her around the wash. We did this every day after school. She loved it and so did I. Once there was a snake or something that she saw. She didn’t rear up as one would expect (again she was a VERY nervous horse) but out of concern for me, gently took a few steps back. She didn’t want to throw me. I had established a bond with her and I could trust her completely. – Sadly, the story doesn’t have a happy ending. I tied her up to a coral while I was opening the door to the barn and was not paying attention. They had a one-legged rooster there named Chester who took an instant dislike to me because I also collected eggs for the family. He charged me at every opportunity and when I was dealing with Chester, the guys on the other side of the coral brought in a bunch of cattle. The cattle scared Rieto. She reared up and pulled down a good chunk of the enclosure. The cattle started rushing out going all over property. When I went back the next day, Rieto was gone and no one was happy to see me. I imagine the owner got wind of the fact that they had been letting a 10 year-old ride a horse that the rest of them couldn’t ride. I hope that poor horse went somewhere where she was appreciated. She was the most gentle horse I ever rode and the smartest, too.

                      My point being that having authority over someone or something does not mean the one under authority must “fear” you. If they do, they’re likely to bolt, which is what a whole generation of women have done because they have not been able to completely depend on men. Few little girls grow up wanting to take a masculine role. They still wear pink, watch Disney movies and fantasize about meeting a prince. Men just need to “grow up,” as Jordan Peterson is now famous for saying, and everything will fall into place.

                      Misha, take me up on my challenge. You obviously have the skills, as your words are positively magical at times, and you won’t regret it.

                    • With respect to fear…

                      A proper, holy fear of God (or of a godly husband) has reference to love. It is not to be afraid of what He (or he) will do to us should we stumble. It is more like a married man who is afraid to spend too much time with another woman for fear of losing his love for his wife in whom his true happiness is found. The fear is justified and very real because we know – or should know – our weaknesses and propensity to sin. But it is a purifying fear, having nothing to do with being afraid of the beloved. Purifying fear is followed by assurance: “Fear not…” because God is love, and His intentions toward us are good, as are the intentions of a godly husband toward his wife who loves with the self-offering love of God. It is not the faithless fear of the demons who “also believe and tremble.”

                    • Alas, dear Gail, et al, it is far too late for compromises of any sort. I will no longer be posting on Monomakhos but am working on my own site dedicated to rallying men to reimpose coverture and to take back the authority from women that has been given to them in the past century, as a legal reform. I was going to call it Patriarkhia, from the Greek, but will now probably go with Patriarkhat, the Russian word for patriarchy as a social institution.

                      I’m sure it is a remedy for our ills. I’m sure it is Orthodox Christian as our faith was understood for 1900 years. And I’m sure America and Western Europe are odd men out when it comes to male-female relations vis a vis the rest of the world.

                      It is only a matter of time.

                      Cheers

                    • Martyr’s Guilt says:

                      Misha, God’s speed in whatever you do. Monomakhos will not be the same without you. Multitask my friend, I enjoy your posts and links regardless if I agree or not.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      As do I.

                    • Misha,
                      I work a full time job. I have have a full time wife, children, parents, relatives,friends, church, and dog. No reason to leave. You have every right to post your opinion, and not feel attacked and judged. If you feel the odd man out, don’t let that discourage you. Orthodoxy needs voices like you, regardless if right or wrong. We have been asleep at the wheel for a long time, and debate is healthy. No one here is above the other, no matter how much more intelligent, pious, moral, or disciplined in Orthodoxy. We are all exactly the same in the most important judges eyes.

                      I say come back at them twice as hard, either way it’s a win, win for all. Your interpretation of the Gospels, and Holy Fathers is neither 100% right or wrong, but neither are your detractors, somewhere in between we will discover the truth, together. Make us all awake to what Orthodoxy is or is not. Many of us have never known or have ever heard some of the beauty that Orthodoxy has to offer, or links that bring so much to us all, until YOU brought it forward to this site. Without your voice here we lose one more soul to channel, literally, in your most welcomed thoughts, at least by me. I vote and pray you stay. Regardless thank you, and God Bless You!

                • I’m amused.

                  Ok, first off, I’m quite aware of what St. Paul said to men regarding their wives, to love them. And since God is love, that is always good advice all around. However, the question on the table is what is lacking in modern Western relationships that results in the low fertility rates, high divorce rates and abortion?

                  No doubt that love is lacking. I get that. But what is blocking love? What is hindering love from its full expression in families composed of loving husbands, obedient and submissive wives, and as many beloved children as the Lord allows the couple?

                  You want to harp on the love. That’s fine. More love is always a good idea.

                  My point is that the sine qua non that is missing in Western relationships is not the love. It is there in some, not in others. We are all sinners and do the best we can. It is a noble and holy task to perpetually exhort each other to love one another, no doubt.

                  But love cannot possibly make up for the lack of obedience and the turning of the divine hierarchy on its head. It is clear that the Fathers rejected the “equality of women” when it comes to authority. That is not a lack of love but a recognition that God gives gifts as He wills and has made man and woman complimentary through male leadership and worthy female assistance to that leadership.

                  That is the heart of the Gospel regarding relations between the sexes. It cannot be otherwise and godly. That is the missing link. And that is what I have, sometimes clumsily, been trying to get through to you.

                  As for my personal situation, I’m not interested in bringing it into discussion. It is possible that I will settle down with a wife at some point, more probably that a chaste life full of God is in store. Whatever it is, His will be done.

                  Doctors, heal thyselves.

                  Again, until you “get it”:

                  * * *

                  Ver. 33. “Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.”

                  For indeed, in very deed, a mystery it is, yea, a great mystery, that a man should leave him that gave him being, him that begot him, and that brought him up, and her that travailed with him and had sorrow, those that have bestowed upon him so many and great benefits, those with whom he has been in familiar intercourse, and be joined to one who was never even seen by him and who has nothing in common with him, and should honor her before all others. A mystery it is indeed. And yet are parents not distressed when these events take place, but rather, when they do not take place; and are delighted when their wealth is spent and lavished upon it.— A great mystery indeed! And one that contains some hidden wisdom. Such Moses prophetically showed it to be from the very first; such now also Paul proclaims it, where he says, “concerning Christ and the Church.”

                  However not for the husband’s sake alone it is thus said, but for the wife’s sake also, that “he cherish her as his own flesh, as Christ also the Church,” and, “that the wife fear her husband.” He is no longer setting down the duties of love only, but what? “That she fear her husband.” The wife is a second authority; let not her then demand equality, for she is under the head; nor let him despise her as being in subjection, for she is the body; and if the head despise the body, it will itself also perish. But let him bring in love on his part as a counterpoise to obedience on her part. For example, let the hands and the feet, and all the rest of the members be given up for service to the head, but let the head provide for the body, seeing it contains every sense in itself. Nothing can be better than this union.

                  And yet how can there ever be love, one may say, where there is fear? It will exist there, I say, preëminently. For she that fears and reverences, loves also; and she that loves, fears and reverences him as being the head, and loves him as being a member, since the head itself is a member of the body at large. Hence he places the one in subjection, and the other in authority, that there may be peace; for where there is equal authority there can never be peace; neither where a house is a democracy, nor where all are rulers; but the ruling power must of necessity be one. – St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Ephesians, 20 – http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/230120.htm

                  Game, set, match . . . checkmate.

                • Michael Bauman says:

                  Gail, you give good advice. I would only add to it one thing: the widows. We have a lot in our parish some of them relatively young. I have made it a point to reach out to the ones I know best offering my love and support, but you challenge me to go further and be more specific.

                  Thank you,

                  BTW, anyone who quotes Ephesians 5:22-24 without Ephesians 5:25-32 seriously misses the point. Neither can be understood except in the light of the other just as the interrelationship between men and women is not a monopole, not even a dipole.

                • Michael Bauman says:

                  BTW Gail, I think you are a heaven of a woman. May God increase his blessings in your life.

                • I agree 100% with Gail. I would add that if an Orthodox man sees an opportunity to mentor young men or be a living example of the type of Headship described in Ephesians for his neighbors, fellow Christians, those he works with…. please do. Never underestimate the power of showing others by doing. More pay attention to you than you know. As Gail said, there are so many males that no longer have any idea of how to be a leader and head of his household in a Christian manner.

                  I thank God that I am married to such a man and though we (I) stumble at times, we try vigilantly to return our thoughts & actions to those written about in this passage. I do believe the harder role has fallen on my husband, for sure.

      • Why is suggesting women do what nature and nature’s God intended for her “hate”? The female biology and psyche are designed for making and raising children, and for managing a household.

        Likewise, men should do what men are biologically and psychologically designed for: providing for and defending their families.

      • Why is suggesting women do what nature and nature’s God intended for her? The female biology and psyche are designed for making and raising children, and for managing a household.

        Likewise, men should do what men are biologically and psychologically designed for: providing for and defending their families.

        • Constaninos says:

          Dear Mike,
          So in other words, we can’t have female school teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, singers, accountants, athletes, lawyers, judges, jet pilots, surgeons, entrepreneurs, Supreme Court Justices,etc.? Okay, your secret is safe with me.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            I had brain surgery in July 2014. As brain surgeries go, it was pretty straightforward and it worked fine. I went to find someone who was said to be the best; she was in a nearby city. A woman in her mid-30s, and Indian by heritage (born here; both her parents are physicians).
            I wanted the best because it was my brain, and would insist on the same for my family. You can be sure I accepted her authority and followed her orders in everything pertaining to my condition.

            • Constaninos says:

              Tim,
              I’m glad your surgery went well. May God bless you and your family with long life, prosperity, and joy.

  4. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

    I didn’t watch the video: those inflated lips said enough!
    How much do those lip injections cost, i wonder? In “The First Wives’ Club”, Goldie Hawn gets her lips plumped up like that. Hilarious!

    • M. Stankovich says:

      Vladyka Tikhon,

      εὐλόγειte ὁ κύριος!

      If you’re in the market, I’m told by 2 friends that you should go with either Restylane, which can cost $350-800 per syringe, and can last from 9-months to a year; Juvaderm, which can cost $450-600 per syringe, which can last for 4-8-months (the Ultra-Plus, a “thicker” version which costs $500-750 last several months longer); or Prevelle Silk, which costs $400 and is the same “Nonanimal Stabilized Hyaluronic Acid (NASHA)” as Restylane. They told me the Prevelle Silk is made with the addition of a “local anesthetic.” Oorah. If you need me to run over to Tijuana, you can expect a discount of up to 60% (but expect a small “service fee!”).

      • Martyr’s Guilt says:

        By this response do you not believe this is the true Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, but an imposter?

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Judging by his response, I’d wager a week’s pay that this is the one and only Vladyka Tikhon (Fitzgerald), the former OCA Bishop of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West, who served faithfully in the Vineyard of our Lord for nearly a quarter of a century. Axios!

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          It’s definitely him. 🙂

  5. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    Head covering for women and girls was universal in the Roman Catholic Church until, like so many other things, it went by the wayside in the long wake of Vatican II. But at least until pretty much the end of the ’60s, that was the uniform practice. It would include hats, scarves/shawls, or smaller doily-type caps or mantillas, but always something.

    Was that also true among the Greeks back then? I don’t know. Now I see occasional head-covering at liturgy, usually a scarf. It is very much the exception, but seems unremarked-upon, as far as I know.

  6. Michael Bauman says:

    Modest people dress modestly.

  7. George, great article! Not gonna watch the video…but…having said that, I cannot even imagine NOT covering my head during service. Sure, visiting some churches I’ve been the only one wearing a scarf, but after these many years of wearing one, Greek style (not babushka style), having it wrap around under the chin and tied/draped in the back, it’s a habit, it’s natural. Also, wouldnt dream of wearing pants in church, either. Im happy to look 13th, 15th, 18th, even late 19th century. My part to make up for what damage has been done to so much…George, thanks for bringing up this topic. Church is many things for many people, but if one is actually going to try to pray during service, it’s nice to not be distracted by what someone is wearing or not wearing. A bit John Chrysostom in the head covering to cover up jeweled combs…

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Thank you Helen!

    • In a Church where most women were covering their heads, I would follow so as not to be a distraction. However, if you are the only woman in a Church (or one of the very few) that is covering your head, then you become the very thing you say you are trying not to be….a distraction. People/men will naturally be drawn to look at you because you are calling attention to yourself by being in the minority. In some cases this is not intentional. But, I have known a good number of women whose reason for doing things the “Old way” or the “Traditional way” was more about their pride or overabundent “new convert syndrome.” *sigh*

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Interesting observation there, Saunca. Actually, pretty wise.

        For what it’s worth, several years ago, I had a pretty young assistant who wore a hijab. She also wore skin-tight jeans, a form-fitting sweater and very stylish heels. Very cheerful and at time flirty. And I’d think to myself, “you know, Honey, you’re not getting the point of the hijab”.

        Choking on the gnat while swallowing the camel as Jesus said once.

      • Abongasport says:

        The right things are to be done even if the majority of people do not do them. Or said differently, in all situations at church wear your veil, that by the way is worn not for modesty, but due to the angels. See the interpretations of saint John Chrysostom (homily for the Ascencion).

  8. George in my humble opinion this is all a big nothingburger. I agree everyone should dress properly for Church and a lot of this is really common sense, which I guess isn’t so common, and good breeding.

    But is this really an important issue? The latest Pew poll on religion (November 2017) tells us that Orthodox are shrinking fast as a percentage of the world ‘s Christians. Of the faithful left, slightly less than six percent attend Church on a “regular” basis, i.e. at least once a month. Do we need to give people one more reason to think about not attending (i.e. being worried about being judged based on appearance)?

    I am sure my internal evil and sin is much more displeasing to God than anything that someone may wear to Church. And yet I dare to enter His House as unworthy as I know I am begging him to forgive and heal me. If we enter Church truly trembling before God for our own sins and inadequacies, I suspect we should be too distracted to even notice what someone else is wearing. If God tells us not to judge the hearts and souls of others, does he really want us to judge their wardrobe selection, even if tacky or perhaps inappropriate? I am just grateful God’s mercy greets me every time I enter a Church rather than his justice.

    Quick funny story. I am in the GOA where women with covered heads are rare. I went one evening to Vespers at a Church in the Russian tradition. I parked next to a family and we were all getting out of our cars at the same time. Out of the back seat stepped one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen, tall and blond, wearing a skirt about eight inches shorter than it should have been. Her mother looked back and said, “Honey, what is wrong with you, coming to Church like this?” The daughter thought for a minute, leaned into car and emerged with a bright scarf covering her head. Mamma’s face lit up with delight. “Oh honey, now you look beautiful!” I have to chuckle every time I remember this.

    I would urge everyone, the next time you are tempted to spend more than a second considering how someone else is dressed in Church, to silently pray the Lenten prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian.

    May God have mercy on sinners, of whom I am the chief.

    • Michael,

      That does bring up a good point. Modesty is not just about headcovering, after all. And some of the things that the girl in the video talks about are valid points, as far as it goes – no shorts, no cleavage, etc. Until recently it was scandalous in Russian churches for women to come in in pants of any sort, long dresses being the norm and pants signaling to some a “gender bender” tendency.

      Nonetheless, if a woman is humble enough to cover her head to acknowledge her lower rank on the Divine Hierarchy vis a vis males, i.e., that she is “under authority”, as St. Paul states, then it goes a long way towards her salvation, as does child bearing and rearing.

      Sexism is good. The Patriarchy is good.

      Feminismum delendum est.

      That, most certainly, is the phronema of the Fathers.

  9. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    By the way George, don’t know where to put this; David Brooks had a very interesting piece in today’s NYTimes about Jordan Peterson, whom I then in turn went looking for on youtube. Most interesting indeed! Have you yet encountered this gentleman’s work?

  10. Gail Sheppard says:

    One thing I find curious is the idea that black is appropriate for a funeral. I was actually thinking about this at the last funeral I attended when we were singing the Paschal troparion.

  11. Has anyone read the book: A RETURN TO MODESTY by Wendy Shalit?

  12. Misha,

    Glad to see you posted again (on the Turkey/Russian thread). And I agree with those who don’t want you to stop posting. Iron sharpens iron, and many of your posts are informative.

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