MONASTIC GARMENTThe monastic costume is not only intended to be a distinction in front of people. As a matter of fact, it has sublime spiritual value as well as holy symbols, since it represents the form of angels. The black color of the costume is to remind the nun that she has died to this world and is seeking eternal life.The monastic garments that are presently used in the ordinary ceremony of monasticism are long gowns with loose sleeves and a bonnet. The costume also includes a girdle that three crosses are braided on to and are all made of leather.
The bonnet used at present resembles to a great extent the one which St. Antonios used to wear. The bonnet covers the whole head and hangs down on the back of the head until the shoulders.
In the upper part of this bonnet, the part that covers the head, there are twelve embroidered crosses, six at each side, that symbolize Christ's twelve disciples. On the other hand, these crosses refer to the twelve virtues of the Holy Spirit. These virtues are:
The cross which is embroidered on the back of the bonnet stands for the Lord Jesus Christ whom a nun bears in her heart and mind; he controls her thoughts and becomes the center of her interests and concerns.
In the middle of the bonnet is a rip that starts from above the forehead up to its third. This rip is sown with crochet, and the bonnet is tied to the neck with two thin strings.
The present shape of the bonnet is also similar to a soldier’s helmet to protect his head, the most important part of the body.
The scarf that a nun wears on her head refers to the fact that she threw the world behind her back.
The Nuns of St. George Convent, Old Cairo