On the Tonsure of Muscovite Priests in the 17th Century

Archdeacon Paul of Aleppo 1627-1669

On the second and third day of the festival, our Lord the Patriarch said mass in the upper church, after they had lighted up the stove from the preceding evening, and ordained Priests and Deacons: for when the report spread over the country, that the Patriarch of Antioch was conferring the sacerdotal dignity, persons began to flock to him from every hollow vale, bringing presents of fish, butter, honey, etc., accompanied with… petitions, praying that he would grant them this favor. These new Priests used very much to excite our admiration; for without a moment’s delay, they clothed themselves in the sacerdotal dress, which is a cloth cassock with a broad-laced collar, and, shaving a large circle on the top of the head, plaited the hair over their foreheads., and drew it behind their ears, as the women do. The only part of their hair which they shave, is on the crown of the head; the rest they allow to grow: and by this slight change they appeared, suddenly, as though they were Priests of many years standing: for the Muscovites are exceedingly quick in their apprehension of any thing that is taught them. (Excerpt From: Paul, of Aleppo, Archdeacon, fl. 1654-1666. “The Travels of Macarius : Patriarch of Antioch.” iBooks)