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 awarded to clergy 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) , flat and pleated (Greek style) ), or flat with raised edges (Romanian style) . Typically, a monastic receives their skufia either when they first become a novice or when they are tonsured . 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 .
High-ranking bishops (such as Archbishops and Metropolitans) will sometimes wear a black or purple skufia with a small jewelled cross on informal occasions . 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.
- 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.