Skouphos

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A skouphos (also skufiya, skufia, or skoufos) is an item of clerical clothing worn by Orthodox Christian monastics (in which case it is black) or clergy, sometimes specifically awarded as a mark of honor (in which case it is usually red or purple). It is a soft-sided brimless cap whose top may be pointed (Russian style),[1] flat and pleated (Greek style), or flat with raised edges (Romanian style). Typically, monastics receive their skufia either when they first become novices or when they are tonsured.[2] A monk or nun who has been tonsured to the Great Schema will wear a skoufia that has been embroidered with prayers, crosses, and figures of seraphim.[3]

High-ranking bishops (such as archbishops and metropolitans) will sometimes wear a black or purple skufia with a small jewelled cross on informal occasions.[4] A nun will sometimes wear a skufia over her monastic veil, while monks often wear the skufia (without a veil) when the klobuk or epanokamelavkion might get in the way of work.

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Notes

  1. The Russian-style skufia is traditionally pulled down so that it covers the top of the ears. This is practical, to keep out the cold, but it also has a symbolic practice, reminding the monk not to listen to gossip.
  2. Example of a monk receiving his skouphos
  3. Example of a Great Schema skouphos
  4. Example of two hierarchs wearing skufias

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