Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. The ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity, in the Middle Ages they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the politics of the Orthodox world, and in spreading Christianity among the Slavs. Within the five sees of the Pentarchy, the Ecumenical Patriarch is regarded as the successor of Andrew the Apostle. The current holder of the office is Bartholomew I, the 270th holder of the title, in his role as head of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, he holds the title Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome. The see of Byzantium, whose foundation was ascribed to Andrew the Apostle, was originally a common bishopric. It gained importance when Emperor Constantine elevated Byzantium to a second capital alongside Rome, the sees ecclesiastical status as the second of five Patriarchates were developed by the Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople in 381 and Chalcedon in 451.
The Turkish government recognizes him as the leader of the Greek minority in Turkey. The Patriarch was subject to the authority of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to Turkish law, he is subject to the authority of the state of Turkey and is required to be a citizen of Turkey to be Patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople has been dubbed the Ecumenical Patriarch since the 6th century, the monastic communities of Mount Athos are stauropegic and are directly under the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarch, who is the only bishop with jurisdiction thereover. The Ecumenical Patriarch has a role among Orthodox bishops, though it is not without its controversy. He is primus inter pares, as he is senior among all Orthodox bishops and this primacy, expressed in canonical literature as presbeia, grants to the Ecumenical Patriarch the right to preside at pan-Orthodox synods. Additionally, the literature of the Orthodox Church grants to the Ecumenical Patriarch the right to hear appeals in cases of dispute between bishops.
Historically, the Ecumenical Patriarch has heard such appeals and sometimes was invited to intervene in other disputes and difficulties. Even as early as the 4th century, Constantinople was instrumental in the deposition of multiple bishops outside its traditional jurisdiction. This still occurs today, as when in 2006 the patriarchate was invited to assist in declaring the archbishop of the Church of Cyprus incompetent due to his having Alzheimers disease. Additionally, in 2005, the Ecumenical Patriarchate convoked a synod to express the Orthodox worlds confirmation of the deposition of Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem. That is, his role is one of promoting and sustaining Church unity. Such a title is acceptable if it refers to this unique role, the five patriarchs of the ancient Pentarchy are to be given seniority of honour, but have no actual power over other bishops other than the power of the synod they are chairing
Domestic of the Schools
The office of the Domestic of the Schools was a senior military post of the Byzantine Empire, extant from the 8th century until at least the early 14th century. The office was eclipsed in the 12th century by that of the Grand Domestic, the first holder of the office of Domestic of the Schools first appears in the sources for the year 767, shortly after the creation of the tagmata. The Schools was the senior tagma, tracing their origin to the Scholae Palatinae established by Constantine the Great, as the magister officiorum was gradually deprived of some of his functions in the 7th and 8th centuries, the Domestic apparently became an independent official. In the 9th century, the office of the Domestic, or Domesticate, of the Schools rose in importance and its holder was often appointed as the head of the army in the absence of the emperor. However, this role was not yet enshrined, it depended rather on the abilities of the current Domestic, from the time of Michael III on, the Domestic ranked in the imperial hierarchy above all other military commanders except for the stratēgos of the Anatolic Theme.
In the reign of Romanos II the post was split, with a Domestic of the West, the ceremony for the Domestics appointment is described in the De Ceremoniis, the same work describes his duties and role in court ceremonies. With some exceptions, most notably the unparalleled 22-year tenure of John Kourkouas, or in times of domestic instability, during the 10th century, the Domesticate of the Schools was dominated by members of the Phokas family, which produced six holders of the office. In the words of the mid-14th century Book of Offices of Pseudo-Kodinos, the Domestic of the Schools once had a similar to that of the Grand Domestic currently. In Pseudo-Kodinos work, the Domestic of the Schools ranks 31st in the imperial hierarchy, between the mystikos and the Grand Drungary of the Fleet. The Domestics distinctive court dress, as reported by Pseudo-Kodinos, consisted of a hat, a plain silk kabbadion tunic. Note, the list does not include holders known only through their seals, the Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century - With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos.
Byzantine empresses and power in Byzantium, AD 527-1204, recherches sur les institutions byzantines, Tome I. Recherches sur les institutions byzantines, Tome I, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press. The Decline of the Opsikian Domesticates and the Rise of the Domesticate of the Scholae, Institute for Byzantine Research, 27–36. Les listes de préséance byzantines des IXe et Xe siècles, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. The Perfect Servant and the Social Construction of Gender in Byzantium, the Reign of Leo VI, Politics and People. Verpeaux, Jean, ed. Pseudo-Kodinos, Traité des Offices, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Blinding is a type of physical punishment which results in complete or nearly complete loss of vision. It has been used as an act of vengeance and torture, the method has been known since Antiquity. The Greek mythology makes several references to blinding as divine punishment, an example is Oedipus, who gouged out his own eyes after accidentally fulfilling the prophecy that he would end up killing his father and marrying his mother. In the Bible, Samson was blinded upon his capture by the Philistines, early Christians were often blinded as a penalty for their beliefs. For example, St. Lucys torturers tore out her eyes, in the Middle Ages, blinding was used as a penalty for treachery or as a means of rendering a political opponent unable to rule and lead an army in war. Henry I of England blinded William, Count of Mortain, who had fought against him at Tinchebray in 1106 and he ordered blinding and castration as a punishment for thieves. In 1014, the Byzantine emperor Basil II had 99 of every 100 captured Bulgarians blinded, blinding was accomplished by gouging out the eyes, sometimes using a hot poker, and by pouring a boiling substance, such as vinegar, on them.
Blinding survives as a form of penalty in the modern era, in 2003, a Pakistani court sentenced a man to be blinded after he subjected his fiancee to an acid attack resulting in loss of vision. The same sentence was given by an Iranian court in 2009 for a man who blinded Ameneh Bahrami in an acid attack, Bahrami eventually pardoned the attacker
Theophylact (son of Michael I)
Theophylact or Theophylaktos was the eldest son of the Byzantine emperor Michael I Rhangabe and grandson, on his mothers side, of Nikephoros I. He was junior co-emperor alongside his father for the duration of the reign, and was tonsured, castrated. Theophylact was born to Michael Rhangabe and Prokopia circa 793 and his maternal grandfather, Nikephoros Ι, was a staunch supporter of Irene and would soon rise to become her General Logothete, eventually to depose her in October 802. Despite a warm reception at Aachen, Charlemagne hesitated to agree to such a match, nothing further is known of Theophylact until 11 July 813, when Michael, faced with a military revolt under Leo the Armenian, abdicated. The deposed imperial family was exiled to the Princes Islands, where they were ordained as monks, who like his brother Nicetas was castrated to make them incapable of claiming the throne in the future, adopted the monastic name Eustratius. He died five years after his father, on 15 January 849, and was buried alongside him in a church on Plate Island
Edirne served as the third capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1363 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empires fourth and final capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of Edirne Province in Turkish Thrace, the citys estimated population in 2014 was 165,979. The city was founded as Hadrianopolis, named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and this name is still used in the Modern Greek. The name Adrianople was used in English, until the Turkish adoption of Latin alphabet in 1928 made Edirne the internationally recognized name. The Turkish, Bulgarian, Одрин, Edrêne, Slovene, Одрин and Serbian, Једрене / Jedrene are adapted forms of the name Hadrianopolis or of its Turkish version, see its other names. The area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges, military historian John Keegan identifies it as the most contested spot on the globe and attributes this to its geographical location. According to Greek mythology, son of king Agamemnon, built this city as Orestias, at the confluence of the Tonsus and the Ardiscus with the Hebrus.
The city was founded eponymously by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement known as Uskadama, Uskodama or Uscudama and it was the capital of the Bessi, or of the Odrysians. Hadrian developed it, adorned it with monuments, changed its name to Hadrianopolis after himself, licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Emperor Valens was killed by the Goths in 378 during the Battle of Adrianople. In 813, the city was seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands towards the north of the Danube. During the existence of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Crusaders were decisively defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the Battle of Adrianople. Later Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, in 1369, the city was conquered by the Ottoman sultan Murad I. The city remained the Ottoman capital for 90 years until 1453, Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes and palaces from the Ottoman period.
Under Ottoman rule, Edirne was the city of the administrative unit, the eponymous Eyalet of Edirne, and after land reforms in 1867. Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, was born in Edirne, Sultan Mehmed IV left the palace in Constantinople and died in Edirne in 1693. During his exile in the Ottoman Empire, the Swedish king Charles XII stayed in the city during most of 1713, baháulláh, the founder of the Baháí Faith, lived in Edirne from 1863 to 1868. He was exiled there by the Ottoman Empire before being banished further to the Ottoman penal colony in Akka and he referred to Edirne in his writings as the Land of Mystery. Edirne was briefly occupied by imperial Russian troops in 1829 during the Greek War of Independence, the city suffered a fire in 1905
It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empires Greek East and Latin West divided. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empires official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally, under the reign of Heraclius, the Empires military, the borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Maurice, the Empires eastern frontier was expanded, in a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia, the Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration, such that by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city.
Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire, the term comes from Byzantium, the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantines capital. This older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, and in 1680 of Du Canges Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of Byzantine among French authors, however, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the Roman Empire, the Empire of the Romans, the Roman Republic, and as Rhōmais. The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and Graikika.
The authority of the Byzantine emperor as the legitimate Roman emperor was challenged by the coronation of Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III in the year 800. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm, the Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the entire Mediterranean region and coastal regions in southwestern Europe and north Africa. These territories were home to different cultural groups, both urban populations and rural populations. The West suffered heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD
Irene of Athens
Irene of Athens, known as Irene Sarantapechaina, was Byzantine empress from 797 to 802. Before that, Irene was empress consort from 775 to 780 and she is best known for ending Iconoclasm. Irene was related to the noble Greek Sarantapechos family of Athens, although she was an orphan, her uncle or cousin Constantine Sarantapechos was a patrician and was possibly strategos of the theme of Hellas at the end of the 8th century. She was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on 1 November 768 and was married to his son Leo IV on 17 December, on 14 January 771, Irene gave birth to a son, the future Constantine VI. When Constantine V died in September 775, Leo succeeded to the throne at the age of twenty-five years. Leo, though an iconoclast, pursued a policy of moderation towards iconodules, but his policies became much harsher in August 780, according to tradition, he discovered icons concealed among Irenes possessions and refused to share the marriage bed with her thereafter. Nevertheless, when Leo died on 8 September 780, Irene became regent for their nine-year-old son Constantine, Irene was almost immediately confronted with a conspiracy that tried to raise Caesar Nikephoros, a half-brother of Leo IV, to the throne.
To overcome this challenge, she had Nikephoros and his co-conspirators ordained as priests, as early as 781, Irene began to seek a closer relationship with the Carolingian dynasty and the Papacy in Rome. She negotiated a marriage between her son Constantine and Rotrude, a daughter of Charlemagne by his third wife Hildegard, during this time Charlemagne was at war with the Saxons, and would become the new king of the Franks. Irene went as far as to send an official to instruct the Frankish princess in Greek, Irene herself broke off the engagement in 787, Irene next had to subdue a rebellion led by Elpidius, the strategos of Sicily. Irene sent a fleet, which succeeded in defeating the Sicilians, Elpidius fled to Africa, where he defected to the Abbasid Caliphate. After the success of Constantine Vs general, Michael Lachanodrakon, who foiled an Abbasid attack on the eastern frontiers, Irenes most notable act was the restoration of the veneration of icons. Having chosen Tarasios, one of her partisans and her secretary, as Patriarch of Constantinople in 784.
The first of these, held in 786 at Constantinople, was frustrated by the opposition of the iconoclast soldiers, the second, convened at Nicaea in 787, formally revived the veneration of icons and reunited the Eastern church with that of Rome. While this greatly improved relations with the Papacy, it did not prevent the outbreak of a war with the Franks, Irene was constantly harried by the Abbasids, and in 782 and 798 had to accept the terms of the respective Caliphs Al-Mahdi and Harun al-Rashid. As Constantine approached maturity he began to grow restless under her autocratic sway, an attempt to free himself by force was met and crushed by the Empress, who demanded that the oath of fidelity should thenceforward be taken in her name alone. The discontent which this occasioned swelled in 790 into open resistance, Constantine could only flee for aid to the provinces, but even there participants in the plot surrounded him. Seized by his attendants on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus and his eyes were gouged out, and he died from his wounds several days later
Byzantine Empire under the Isaurian dynasty
The Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Isaurian or Syrian dynasty from 717 to 802. The Heraclian dynasty faced some of the greatest challenges in history, after successfully overcoming the Sassanid Persians, the Emperor Heraclius and his exhausted realm were faced with the sudden onset of the Muslim expansion from Arabia into the Levant. Following the Muslim conquest of Syria, the province of Egypt. These three areas would be the fields of Byzantine-Arab contention during the next half-century. The Arabs continued to make headway, most notably constructing a navy that successfully challenged Byzantine supremacy in the Mediterranean, the outbreak of the Muslim civil war in 656 bought the Byzantines time, and emperor Constans II reinforced his position in the Balkans and Italy. At the same however, he was defeated by the Bulgar khan Asparukh. Carthage finally fell in 697 and a Byzantine recovery attempt defeated next year, the Umayyad caliph Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik began preparing another huge expedition to conquer Constantinople.
The loss of the Empires richest provinces, coupled with successive invasions, reduced the economy to a relatively impoverished state. The monetary economy persisted, but the economy experienced a revival as well. At the same time, the bureaucracy in Constantinople rose in importance. After Justinian IIs second overthrow, the Byzantine Empire spiralled into another era of chaos matched only by Phocas mishandling of the last Persian War, philippikos Bardanes, the Crimean rebel who seized the throne proved to be totally incompetent for rule. Rather than face the threat of the Bulgars or the Arabs. When King Tervel of Bulgaria invaded Thrace, Bardanes had no choice, unfortunately for the Emperor, the troops had no loyalty whatsoever to him and after the ritual blinding he was replaced in June 713 by the chief secretary of the Emperor, Artemios. Artemios was crowned as Anastasios II, every citizen was told to gather enough food for three years for if the Arabs were to reach the straits it would undoubtedly be a lengthy siege.
However, Anastasios proved too good for the Empire, in an effort to avert the Arab siege of the Capital, Anastasios planned a strike against the invaders. However the Opsician Theme once more revolted and Anastasios found himself in a Thessalonika monastery by 715, the Opsicians chose Theodosios, an unwilling tax-collector, to rule the Empire. Leo III, who would become the founder of the so-called Isaurian dynasty, was born in Germanikeia in northern Syria c. 685, his origin from Isauria derives from a reference in Theophanes the Confessor
The ceremony can be conducted for the monarchs consort, either simultaneously with the monarch or as a separate event. A ceremony without the placement of a crown on the head is known as an enthronement. Coronations are still observed in the United Kingdom, Tonga, in addition to investing the monarch with symbols of state, Western-style coronations have often traditionally involve anointing with holy oil, or chrism as it is often called. Wherever a ruler is anointed in this way, as in Great Britain and Tonga, some other lands use bathing or cleansing rites, the drinking of a sacred beverage, or other religious practices to achieve a comparable effect. Such acts symbolise the granting of divine favour to the monarch within the relevant spiritual-religious paradigm of the country, in the past, concepts of royalty and deity were often inexorably linked. Rome promulgated the practice of worship, in Medieval Europe. Coronations were once a direct expression of these alleged connections. Thus, coronations have often been discarded altogether or altered to reflect the nature of the states in which they are held.
However, some monarchies still choose to retain an overtly religious dimension to their accession rituals, others have adopted simpler enthronement or inauguration ceremonies, or even no ceremony at all. In non-Christian states, coronation rites evolved from a variety of sources, for instance, influenced the coronation rituals of Thailand and Bhutan, while Hindu elements played a significant role in Nepalese rites. The ceremonies used in modern Egypt, Malaysia and Iran were shaped by Islam, Coronations, in one form or another, have existed since ancient times. Egyptian records show coronation scenes, such as that of Seti I in 1290 BC, judeo-Christian scriptures testify to particular rites associated with the conferring of kingship, the most detailed accounts of which are found in II Kings 11,12 and II Chronicles 23,11. Following the assumption of the diadem by Constantine and Byzantine emperors continued to wear it as the symbol of their authority. Although no specific coronation ceremony was observed at first, one gradually evolved over the following century, the emperor Julian was hoisted upon a shield and crowned with a gold necklace provided by one of his standard-bearers, he wore a jewel-studded diadem.
Later emperors were crowned and acclaimed in a manner, until the momentous decision was taken to permit the Patriarch of Constantinople to physically place the crown on the emperors head. Historians debate when exactly this first took place, but the precedent was established by the reign of Leo II. This ritual included recitation of prayers by the Byzantine prelate over the crown, after this event, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the ecclesiastical element in the coronation ceremonial rapidly develop. This was usually performed three times, following this, the king was given a spear, and a diadem wrought of silk or linen was bound around his forehead as a token of regal authority
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, the word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos and dromos, path or way. For this reason, it is called Atmeydanı in Turkish. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, although the Hippodrome is usually associated with Constantinoples days of glory as an imperial capital, it actually predates that era. The first Hippodrome was built when the city was called Bysantium, in AD203 the Emperor Septimius Severus rebuilt the city and expanded its walls, endowing it with a hippodrome, an arena for chariot races and other entertainment. In AD324, the Emperor Constantine the Great decided to move the seat of the government from Rome to Byzantium and this name failed to impress and the city soon became known as Constantinople, the City of Constantine.
Constantine greatly enlarged the city, and one of his major undertakings was the renovation of the Hippodrome and it is estimated that the Hippodrome of Constantine was about 450 m long and 130 m wide. Its stands were capable of holding 100,000 spectators, the race-track at the Hippodrome was U-shaped, and the Kathisma was located at the eastern end of the track. The Kathisma could be accessed directly from the Great Palace through a passage which only the emperor or other members of the family could use. The Hippodrome Boxes, which had four statues of horses in gilded copper on top, stood at the end. The track was lined with bronze statues of famous horses and chariot drivers. Throughout the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the centre of the social life. The Reds and the Whites gradually weakened and were absorbed by the two major factions. A total of up to eight chariots, powered by four horses each and these races were not simple sporting events, but provided some of the rare occasions in which the Emperor and the common citizens could come together in a single venue.
Political discussions were made at the Hippodrome, which could be directly accessed by the Emperor through a passage that connected the Kathisma with the Great Palace of Constantinople. The rivalry between the Blues and Greens often became mingled with political or religious rivalries, and sometimes riots, which amounted to civil wars that broke out in the city between them. The most severe of these was the Nika riots of 532, in which an estimated 30,000 people were killed and many important buildings, the current Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian following the Nika Revolt. Constantinople never really recovered from its sack during the Fourth Crusade and even though the Byzantine Empire survived until 1453, by that time, the Hippodrome was used for various occasions such as the lavish and days-long circumcision ceremony of the sons of Sultan Ahmed III
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system but sometimes appearing in elective republics. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a house, historians periodize the histories of many sovereign states, such as Ancient Egypt, the Carolingian Empire and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties. As such, the dynasty may be used to delimit the era during which the family reigned and to describe events, trends. The word dynasty itself is often dropped from such adjectival references, until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty, that is, to increase the territory and power of his family members. The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. Succession through a daughter when permitted was considered to establish a new dynasty in her husbands ruling house, some states in Africa, determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mothers dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
It is extended to unrelated people such as poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team. The word dynasty derives via Latin dynastia from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to power, dominion and it was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, power or ability, from dýnamai, to be able. A ruler in a dynasty is referred to as a dynast. For example, following his abdication, Edward VIII of the United Kingdom ceased to be a member of the House of Windsor. A dynastic marriage is one that complies with monarchical house law restrictions, the marriage of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, to Máxima Zorreguieta in 2002 was dynastic, for example, and their eldest child is expected to inherit the Dutch crown eventually. But the marriage of his younger brother Prince Friso to Mabel Wisse Smit in 2003 lacked government support, thus Friso forfeited his place in the order of succession, lost his title as a Prince of the Netherlands, and left his children without dynastic rights.
In historical and monarchist references to formerly reigning families, a dynast is a member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchys rules still in force. Even since abolition of the Austrian monarchy and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position. The term dynast is sometimes used only to refer to descendants of a realms monarchs. The term can therefore describe overlapping but distinct sets of people, yet he is not a male-line member of the royal family, and is therefore not a dynast of the House of Windsor. Thus, in 1999 he requested and obtained permission from Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco. Yet a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time and that exclusion, ceased to apply on 26 March 2015, with retroactive effect for those who had been dynasts prior to triggering it by marriage to a Catholic
Tonsure /ˈtɒnʃər/ is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tōnsūra and referred to a practice in medieval Catholicism. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. Tonsure refers to the practice of shaving all or part of the scalp to show support or sympathy. Tonsure is still a practice in Catholicism by specific religious orders. It is used in the Eastern Orthodox Church for newly baptized members and is frequently used for Buddhist novices. It exists as a practice in Islam after completion of the hajj and is practiced by a number of Hindu religious orders. Tonsure is usually the part of three rites of passages in the life of the individual in Hinduism, the first is called Chudakarana, known as choulam, chudakarma, or mundana marks the childs first haircut, typically the shaving of the head.
The mother dresses up, sometimes in her wedding sari, and with the father present, sometimes, a tuft of hair is left to cover the soft spot near the top of babys head. Both boys and girls go through this ceremony, sometimes near a temple or a river. The significance of Chudakarana rite of passage is the babys cyclical step to hygiene, the ritual is typically done about the first birthday, but some texts recommend that it be completed before the third or the seventh year. Sometimes, this ritual is combined with the rite of passage of Upanayana, the second rite of passage in Hinduism that sometimes involves tonsure is at the Upanayana, the sanskara marking a childs entry into school. Another rite of passage where tonsure is practiced by Hindus is after the death and completing the last rites of a family member. This ritual is found in India among male mourners, who shave their heads as a sign of bereavement. According to Jamanadas, tonsure was originally a Buddhist custom and was adopted by Hinduism, however and others trace the practice to Sanskrit texts dated to have been composed before the birth of Buddha, which mention tonsure as a rite of passage.
In Buddhism, tonsure is a part of the rite of pabbajja and this involves shaving head and face. This tonsure is renewed as often as required to keep the head cleanly shaven, the purification process of the metzora involved the ritual shaving on the metzorahs entire body except for the afflicted locations. Tonsure was not widely known in antiquity, tradition states that it originated with the disciples of Jesus, who observed the Torah command not to shave the hair around the sides of ones head