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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter III. Of the Hoods of the Egyptians.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter III.

Of the Hoods of the Egyptians.

There are some things besides in the dress of the Egyptians which concern not the care of the body so much as the regulation of the character, that the observance of simplicity and innocence may be preserved by the very character of the clothing. For they constantly use both by day and by night very small hoods coming down to the end of the neck and shoulders, which only cover the head, in order that they may constantly be moved to preserve the simplicity and innocence of little children by imitating their actual dress. 646  And p. 203 these men have returned to childhood in Christ and sing at all hours with heart and soul: “Lord, my heart is not exalted nor are mine eyes lofty. Neither have I walked in great matters nor in wonderful things above me. If I was not humbly minded, but exalted my soul: as a child that is weaned is towards his mother.” 647



The hood, or cowl (cuculla), was anciently worn by children and peasants, and thus was said to symbolize humility. Compare the account of the Egyptian monks given by Sozomen, Hist. III. xiv.: “They wore a covering on their heads called a cowl to show that they ought to live with the same innocence and purity as infants who are nourished with milk and wear a covering of the same form.”


Psa. 131.1-2.

Next: Chapter IV. Of the Tunics of the Egyptians.

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