Cilice : Entre Discipline Spirituelle et Tradition Religieuse-RELICS

Cilice: Between Spiritual Discipline and Religious Tradition

Cilice: Spiritual Asceticism in Religious Tradition

The eyelash was a garment woven from rough goat hair, which was used by soldiers in the Roman army. The term comes from the Greek κιλίκιον, or the region of Cilicia, today southern Turkey. From the Roman soldiers, the ball went to the Christian anacoretes, who carried it on bare skin to do penance and mortify the flesh. It remained used for penitents, some pilgrims, and as a tool of sanctification and purification in certain religious orders or brotherhoods. Indicates, by extension, a hooked belt or black, knotted rope, which constricts around the waist or thigh to cause extreme but constant pain.

Often associated with ascetic and penitential practices, the hair shirt is an austere instrument used in various religious traditions. Consisting of a rough belt or thorny band worn around the body, the hair shirt symbolizes the renunciation of earthly pleasures and the search for spiritual purification. Its use dates back centuries, where devout individuals chose to physically experience discomfort to atone for their sins or draw closer to divinity. However, over time, this practice has sparked debate about its actual effectiveness and psychological impact. Today, the hair shirt remains a controversial symbol of devotion and extreme discipline.

hair shirt

Ancient hair shirt for sale on

The cilice is a belt or undergarment of rough fabric, originally made from the wool of Cilicia goats. The hair shirt therefore designates an object made of textile fibers.

Cilices were originally made from coarse animal hair, as an imitation of the garment worn by John the Baptist which was made from camel hair, or sackcloth, which throughout the Bible, was worn by people who repented. Cilices were designed to irritate the skin; other features were added to make the hair shirts more uncomfortable, such as thin wires or twigs. In modern Christian religious circles, hair shirts are simply any device worn for the same purposes.

hair shirt

Ancient hair shirt for sale on

There is evidence, based on analyzes of both clothing depicted in art and skin print patterns, that the use of the hair shirt predates written history. This finding was reflected at Göbekli Tepe, an Anatolian site, indicating the widespread manufacture of hair shirts. Ian Hodder has argued that "self-harm clothing was an essential component of Catalhöyük's cultural-ritual entanglement.

When the cilice has the shape of a small shirt, it is also called a haire.

The cilice (rough fabric instrument) is worn around the waist, or wrapped over the bust. The chains can act as a belt, bracelet or attach to the thigh, etc. With the same technique, certain industries of conservative nuns manufacture other instruments of penance. For example, the wire links no longer form a chain but a small cross that followers of bodily mortification carry on their shoulder.

hair shirt

Ancient hair shirt for sale on

The chain is simply a strip, more or less wide, stitched, not made of fabric, but of metal. It is made of small wire links whose ends are cleverly curved to form pins. It is not a modern form of the hair shirt as I read in a poorly informed online encyclopedia. Chains and hair shirts have coexisted for centuries . These are two distinct kinds of penitential objects .

It was in common use in monasteries and convents throughout history until the 1960s, and was approved by popes as a means of following Christ who died in bloody crucifixion and who gave this advice: " Let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." Proponents say opposition to mortification is rooted in having lost the "sense of enormity of sin" or offense against God, and the resulting penitence, both interior and exterior, the notions of "wounded human nature" and of concupiscence or inclination to sin, and therefore the necessity of a “spiritual warfare,” a spirit of sacrifice for love and “supernatural ends,” not just for physical improvement.

Some religious orders within the Roman Catholic Church use the hair shirt as a form of "bodily mortification", as do some lay people, notably some faithful of the Prelature of Opus Dei. According to John Allen, an American Catholic writer, its practice in the Catholic Church is "more widespread than many observers imagine." Thomas Becket wore a hair shirt when he was assassinated, Saint Patrick wore a hair shirt, Charlemagne was buried in a hair shirt, and Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany, wore one during the March to Canoss. of the nomination controversy. Prince Henry the Navigator wore a hair shirt at the time of his death in 1460. In modern times it has been used by Mother Teresa, Saint Padre Pio and the murdered Archbishop Óscar Romero. Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was also known for wearing a hair shirt.

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