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This article on church uses of cowls only describes one highly specialized aspect of its associated subject.August 2020)(
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The cowl (from French coule, itself from Latin cuculla , itself from Gaulish Celtic cucullos, which all originate from the Greek koukoula (κουκούλα) meaning "hood") is an item of clothing consisting of a long, hooded garment with wide sleeves. Originally it may have referred simply to the hooded portion of a cloak. In contemporary usage, however, it is distinguished from a cloak or cape (cappa) by the fact that it refers to an entire closed garment. Today it is worn primarily by most Catholic and Anglican monks when participating in liturgical services.
Developed during the early Middle Ages, it became the formal garment for those in monastic life. Both St. Jerome and John Cassian refer to it as part of a monk's dress.In modern times, it is worn over the habit during liturgical services.
Among the Benedictines, in choir, at chapter, and at certain other ceremonial times, a long full gown with large flowing sleeves, called a "cowl", is worn over the ordinary habit. Black has been the prevailing color, hence the term "black monk" has come to signify a Benedictine.Similarly, the Cistercians are known as the "White Monks", in reference to the color of the "cuculla" or white choir robe worn over their habits, as opposed to the black cuculla worn by Benedictine monks. "The Carthusian wears the ordinary monastic habit in white serge, but the scapular which is joined by bands at the side and has the hood attached to it, is known as the "cowl". The long flowing garment with wide sleeves, which usually bears this name, is used only by the deacon at high Mass."
The cowl is traditionally bestowed upon the monk at the time of making solemn, or lifetime, profession. Prior to their solemn vows, the monks still in training wear a hooded cloak. The cowl is generally worn in conformity with the color of the monk's tunic; other groups which follow the Rule of St. Benedict, e.g., the Camaldolese wearing white. (The Camaldolese of Monte Corona, however, always wear a cloak instead of a cowl.)
While not cowls in the monastic sense, the mendicant Orders have retained the use of a cappa (cape) as part of their habit. In their case, however, it is a regular part of their religious habit and worn by all members of the Order, both as street dress and in church. The Carmelites wear a white cape, although their tunic and scapular are brown, from which they were known in medieval England as the "Whitefriars". Dominicans wear a black cape over a white habit—hence, their ancient nickname of "Blackfriars". Both the cowl and the cape, though without a hood, are also worn by the nuns associated to each Order, in the same manner.
Among the Eastern Christians (Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic) the monastic hood developed into the koukoulion worn by monks of the Great Schema, the highest degree of monasticism in the Eastern Church. Currently the koukoulion is of two types: one is similar to the hood still worn by some Western monastic orders, the other takes the form of a stiff rounded hat (like a bowler hat without a rim) to which is attached an epanokalimavkion (veil with lappets). The koukoulion is usually embroidered with crosses and the Instruments of the Passion. The koukoulion is also worn by the Patriarchs of some of the autocephalous Orthodox churches.
A mantle is an ecclesiastical garment in the form of a very full cape that extends to the floor, joined at the neck, that is worn over the outer garments. Especially in the case of Elijah, it was likely a Tallit or Tallis, a Hebrew garment that housed the fringes still seen today which are also translated at “the hem of His garment” in the New Testament. It is also likely that further ecclesiastical garments were based originally on this garment.
The cassock or soutane is a Christian clerical clothing coat used by the clergy of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, in addition to certain Protestant denominations such as Anglicans and Lutherans. "Ankle-length garment" is the literal meaning of the corresponding Latin term, vestis talaris. It is related to the habit, which is traditionally worn by nuns, monks, and friars.
The dalmatic is a long, wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, United Methodist, and some other churches. When used, it is the proper vestment of a deacon at Mass, Holy Communion or other services such as baptism or marriage held in the context of a Eucharistic service. Although infrequent, it may also be worn by bishops above the alb and below the chasuble, and is then referred to as pontifical dalmatic.
A hood is a kind of headgear that covers most of the head and neck, and sometimes the face. Hoods that cover mainly the sides and top of the head, and leave the face mostly or partly open may be worn for protection from the environment, for fashion, as a form of traditional dress or uniform, or in the case of knights, an armoured hood is used for protection against bladed weapons. In some cases, hoods are used to prevent the wearer from seeing where they are going. Hoods with eye holes may be used for religious purposes to prevent the wearer from being seen. In the case of Ku Klux Klan members, terrorists, or criminals such as robbers, a hood with eye holes helps prevent identification.
The cope is a liturgical vestment, more precisely a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour.
The scapular is a Western Christian garment suspended from the shoulders. There are two types of scapulars, the monastic and devotional scapular, although both forms may simply be referred to as "scapular". As an object of popular piety, it serves to remind the wearers of their commitment to live a Christian life.
A lay brother is a member of a religious order, particularly in the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, who fulfills a role focused upon manual service and secular matters, and is distinguished from a choir monk or friar whose primary role is to pray in choir. In female religious institutes, the equivalent role is the lay sister. In male religious institutes, lay brothers are additionally distinguished from choir religious in that they do not receive holy orders and are therefore not clerics. Lay brother and lay sisters roles were originally created to allow those who were skilled in particular crafts or did not have the required education to study for holy orders to participate in and contribute to the life of a religious order.
A chimere is a garment worn by Anglican bishops in choir dress, and, formally as part of academic dress.
The Order of Saint Jerome or Hieronymites is a Catholic cloistered religious order and a common name for several congregations of hermit monks living according to the Rule of Saint Augustine, though the role principle of their lives is the 5th-century hermit and biblical scholar Saint Jerome.
Clerical clothing is non-liturgical clothing worn exclusively by clergy. It is distinct from vestments in that it is not reserved specifically for services. Practices vary: is sometimes worn under vestments, and sometimes as the everyday clothing or street wear of a priest, minister, or other clergy member. In some cases, it can be similar or identical to the habit of a monk or nun.
Choir dress is the traditional vesture of the clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches worn for public prayer and the administration of the sacraments except when celebrating or concelebrating the Eucharist. It differs from the vestments worn by the celebrants of the Eucharist, being normally made of fabrics such as wool, cotton or silk, as opposed to the fine brocades used in vestments. It may also be worn by lay assistants such as acolytes and choirs. It was abandoned by most of the Protestant churches that developed from the sixteenth-century Reformation.
The mozzetta is a short elbow-length sartorial vestment, a cape that covers the shoulders and is buttoned over the frontal breast area. It is worn over the rochet or cotta as part of choir dress by some of the clergy of the Catholic Church, among them the pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, canons and religious superiors. There used to be a small hood on the back of the mozzetta of bishops and cardinals, but this was discontinued by Pope Paul VI. The hood, however, was retained in the mozzette of certain canons and abbots, and in that of the popes, often trimmed in satin, silk or ermine material.
A religious habit is a distinctive set of religious clothing worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognizable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious eremitic and anchoritic life, although in their case without conformity to a particular uniform style.
Prior is an ecclesiastical title for a superior, usually lower in rank than an abbot or abbess. Its earlier generic usage referred to any monastic superior. The word is derived from the Latin for "earlier" or "first".
The Order of Saint Benedict is a loose affiliation of monastics of the Orthodox Church who strive to live according to the Rule of St Benedict. The "Order of Saint Benedict" is not an incorporated body. Orthodox Benedictines enjoy good relations with each other, which frequently cross jurisdictional boundaries. "Monastic Orders" are not found in Orthodoxy, so Orthodox Benedictines are often known as "Orthodox Community of Saint Benedict" OCSB-Ro where the "Ro" refers to their lineage from Saint Romuald. Their Roman Catholic equivalents are OSB-Cam where the "Cam" refers to their Camaldolese lineage.
The degrees of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic monasticism are the stages an Eastern Orthodox monk or nun passes through in their religious vocation.
Costume during the thirteenth century in Europe was very simple for both men and women, and quite uniform across the continent. Male and female clothing were relatively similar, and changed very slowly, if at all. Most clothing, especially outside the wealthier classes, remained little changed from three or four centuries earlier. The century saw great progress in the dyeing and working of wool, which was by far the most important material for outerwear. For the rich, colour and rare fabrics such as silk from the silkworm was very important. Blue was introduced and became very fashionable, being adopted by the Kings of France as their heraldic colour.
The koukoulion is a traditional headdress worn by monks of the highest degree in Eastern Christianity.
The academic dress of the United Kingdom and Ireland has a long history and has influenced the academic dress of America and beyond. The academic square cap was invented in the UK as well as the hood which developed from the lay dress of the medieval period.
A Capuche is a friar's cowl, a long, pointed hood which was typically worn by the Franciscan, Capuchin, Augustinian, Carmelite, or Cistercian monks.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Cowl". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.