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(tŏn`shər) [Lat.,=to shave], formerly, practice in some Christian churches of cutting some of the hair from the scalp of clerics. In the West the tonsure consisted of a circular patch on the crown of the head from which the hair was kept cut; some tonsures kept the entire head shaved above the ears, and some retained a broad band of hair around the head. Different religious orders had different tonsures. In the 6th and 7th cent. one of the outstanding questions between the Celtic use and the Roman use was the tonsure, which the Celts made by cutting the hair off the front part of the head. The Roman Catholic Church abolished the practice of tonsure in 1972. See orders, holyorders, holy
[Lat. ordo,=rank], in Christianity, the traditional degrees of the clergy, conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Order. The episcopacy, priesthood or presbyterate, and diaconate were in general use in Christian churches in the 2d cent.
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a church ritual in Christianity. The rite of tonsure is performed upon admission into the clerical or monastic state. It was adopted from the custom of cropping the hair of slaves in Rome and Greece and symbolizes “enslavement to god.”

References in periodicals archive ?
Next we explained the ritual of clerical tonsure, the special haircut that medieval students received, as a sign of the medieval university's strong connections to the church.
I explained to the students that we had adapted a tonsure ritual from the Catholic Rite.
This might seem like little more than a bit of theatre, and our modern students could certainly have learned about the tonsure of their medieval counterparts without actually receiving one.
Like the tonsure ritual, students eventually embraced this practice, and the chained book became one of the highest rated experiential elements of the course.
In the Submeridional Lowlands, Desmanthus chacoensis Burck, 1952, is very frequent inside the tonsures, but very rare elsewhere, while other species like Aster squamatus (Spreng.
Therefore the tonsures development is a major contribution to the vegetative regeneration of the community matrix.
However, monk's tonsure like gaps have been almost overlooked in scientific literature (Strickland 1983).