Cowl


Cowl

This article is about the garment used by monks and nuns. For other uses, see Cowl (disambiguation) or Cowling (disambiguation).

A Roman Catholic monk wearing a cowl
Drawing showing a hooded monk

The cowl (from the Latin cuculla, meaning "little house") is an item of clothing consisting of a long, hooded garment with wide sleeves. Originally it may have referred simply to the hooded portion of a cloak. In contemporary usage, however, it is distinguished from a cloak or cape (cappa) by the fact that it refers to an entire closed garment. Today it is worn primarily by most Catholic and Anglican monks when participating in liturgical services. Developed during the early Middle Ages in Northern Europe, they became the formal garment for those in monastic life. Originally they were worn simply to give greater warmth than would an open cloak to people who regularly spent long hours in unheated and drafty churches.

Contents

Religious use

The cowl is most commonly bestowed upon the monk at the time of making solemn, or lifetime, vows. Prior to these final vows, the monks still in training wear a hooded cloak. The cowl is generally worn in conformity with the color of the monk's tunic, with the Benedictines wearing black, and other groups which follow the Rule of St. Benedict, e.g., the Camaldolese and Cistercians, wearing differing shades of white. Though not Benedictines, the Carthusians make use of a cowl as well. The Camaldolese of Monte Corona, however, always wear a cloak instead of a cowl.

While not true cowls in the monastic sense, the mendicant Orders have retained the use of a cappa (cape) as part of their habit. In their case, however, it is a regular part of their religious habit and worn by all members of the Order, both as street dress and in church. The Carmelites wear a white cape, although their tunic and scapular are brown, from which they were known in medieval England as the "Whitefriars". Dominicans wear a black cape over a white habit--hence, their ancient nickname of "Blackfriars". Both the cowl and the cape, though without a hood, are also worn by the nuns associated to each Order, in the same manner.[1]

St. Tikhon of Moscow wearing the patriarchal white koukoulion

Among the Eastern Christians (Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics) the monastic hood developed into the koukoulion worn by monks of the Great Schema, the highest degree of monasticism in the Eastern Church. Currently the koukoulion is of two types: one is similar to the hood still worn by some Western monastic orders, the other takes the form of a stiff rounded hat (like a bowler hat without a rim) to which is attached an epanokamelavkion (veil with lappets). The koukoulion is usually embroidered with crosses and the Instruments of the Passion. The koukoulion is also worn by the Patriarchs of some of the autocephalous Orthodox churches.

Other uses

The school newspaper of Providence College is named The Cowl. The college is administered by the friars of the Dominican Order.

Meaning extensions

The cowl was also used in literature as a symbol of the Church's spiritual and secular authority. In expressions such as "cowl over sword," the Church's authority is asserted over the laity in both spiritual and secular matters. References to the cowl in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance depict the Church as something that trumps the authority of the State.Template:Sources??

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ "Cowl" Encyclopaedia Britannica (Including photo of Franciscan friars wearing capes)

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Synonyms:
(especially of a monk) /


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cowl — • A hood worn in many religious orders Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Cowl     Cowl     † C …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Cowl — (koul), n. [AS. cuhle, cugle, cugele; cf. dial. G. kogel, gugel, OF. coule, goule; all fr. LL. cuculla, cucullus, fr. L. cucullus cap, hood; perh. akin to celare to conceal, cella cell. Cf. {Cucullate}.] 1. A monk s hood; usually attached to the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cowl — cowl1 [koul] n. [ME coule < OE cugle < LL(Ec) cuculla < L cucullus, cap, hood < ? IE base * (s)keu , to cover > SKY] 1. a) a monk s hood b) a monk s cloak with a hood 2. something shaped like a cowl; esp., a …   English World dictionary

  • cowl — (n.) O.E. cule, from earlier cugele, from L.L. cuculla monk s cowl, variant of L. cucullus hood, cowl, of uncertain origin. Cowling is 1917 in the aircraft sense …   Etymology dictionary

  • cowl — cowl·ing; un·cowl; cowl; …   English syllables

  • Cowl — Cowl, n. [Cf. OF. cuvele, cuvel, dim. of F. cuve tub, vat, fr. L. cupa. See {Cup}.] A vessel carried on a pole between two persons, for conveyance of water. Johnson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cowl — [kaul] n [: Old English; Origin: cugele, from Latin cucullus] 1.) a large ↑hood that covers your head and shoulders ▪ a monk in a dark habit and cowl 2.) a cover for a ↑chimney …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Cowl [1] — Cowl, Stadt, so v.w. Coel …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Cowl [2] — Cowl (ind. Gew.), so v.w. Chow …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • cowl — [ kaul ] noun count 1. ) a part of a piece of clothing that covers the head and shoulders, worn especially by MONKS 2. ) a cover for a CHIMNEY that improves the flow of smoke …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cowl — ► NOUN 1) a large loose hood forming part of a monk s habit. 2) a hood shaped covering for a chimney or ventilation shaft. 3) another term for COWLING(Cf. ↑cowling). DERIVATIVES cowled adjective. ORIGIN Latin …   English terms dictionary


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