Medieval Sourcebook: The Responses of Pope Nicholas I to the Questions of the Bulgars A.D. 866 (Letter 99)

Chapter LIX.

We consider what you asked about pants (femoralia) to be irrelevant; for we do not wish the exterior style of your clothing to be changed, but rather the behavior of the inner man within you, nor do we desire to know what you are wearing except Christ — for however many of you have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ [Gal. 3:27] — but rather how you are progressing in faith and good works. But since you ask concerning these matters in your simplicity, namely because you were afraid lest it be held against you as a sin, if you diverge in the slightest way from the custom of other Christians, and lest we seem to take anything away from your desire, we declare that in our books, pants (femoralia) are ordered to be made, not in order that women may use them, but that men may. But act now so that, just as you passed from the old to the new man, [cf. Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10] you pass from your prior custom to ours in all things; but really do what you please. For whether you or your women wear or do not wear pants (femoralia) neither impedes your salvation nor leads to any increase of your virtue. Of course, because we have said that pants are ordered to be made, it should be noted that we put on pants spiritually, when we restrain the lust of the flesh through abstinence; for those places are constrained by pants in which the seats of luxury are known to be. This is why the first humans, when they felt illicit motions in their members after sin, ran into the leaves of a fig tree and wove loin cloths for themselves.[cf. Gen. 3:7] But these are spiritual pants, which you still could not bear, and, if I may speak with the Apostle, you are not yet able; for you are still carnal.[I Cor. 3:2] And thus we have said a few things on this matter, although, with God’s gift, we could say many more.


What the Bulgarian women’s “pants” would have typically looked like. Big difference from the sorts of pants (or rather, lack thereof) that women are wearing today!

This letter is typically used to “refute” any questions about women wearing pants in this day and age… they quote this 1151 year old paper from Pope Nicholas I concerning the pants that women wore back then.

Somehow I doubt that they wore pants likened to the ones Catholic women are using the article to defend nowadays (see below) … but that’s just my opinion.

Of course, then we have some that use the false story of Padre Pio forbidding women wearing a certain outfit to confession as “proof” that women must wear so and so…

Sigh. Please inform yourselves ladies. I was in the same boat as you all and believe me, quoting these sorts of things don’t get you anywhere.

shopping (2)
H&M – Short High Waist Shorts – Denim blue trashed – Women from H&M
shopping (1)
H&M – Super Skinny Low Jeans – Light denim blue – Women from H&M


H&M – Jersey Leggings – Black – Women from H&M
shopping (3)
Women Stretch Denim Jean Look Skinny Leggings Slim Jeggings Tight from eBay – lxxstore88





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