Pectoral cross

Last updated

Gold pectoral cross from Italy or subalpine regions, late 6th century-7th century Pectoral cross Italy MNMA Cl23271.jpg
Gold pectoral cross from Italy or subalpine regions, late 6th century–7th century
Pectoral of Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI's Diamond Ring and Cross.jpg
Pectoral of Pope Paul VI

A pectoral cross or pectorale (from the Latin pectoralis, "of the chest") is a cross that is worn on the chest, usually suspended from the neck by a cord or chain. In ancient and medieval times pectoral crosses were worn by both clergy and laity, but by the end of the Middle Ages the pectoral cross came to be a special indicator of position worn by bishops. In the Catholic Church, the wearing of a pectoral cross remains restricted to popes, cardinals, bishops and abbots. [1] The modern pectoral cross is relatively large, and is different from the small crosses worn on necklaces by many Christians. Most pectoral crosses are made of precious metals (platinum, gold or silver) and some contain precious or semi-precious gems. Some contain a corpus like a crucifix while others use stylized designs and religious symbols.

Contents

In many Christian denominations, the pectoral cross symbolizes that the person wearing it is a member of the clergy, [2] or that the wearer is a member of the higher or senior clergy. However, in many Western churches there are an increasing number of laypeople who choose to wear some form of a cross around their neck.

While many Christians, both clergy and laity, wear crosses, the pectoral cross is distinguished by both its size (up to six inches across) and that it is worn in the center of the chest below the heart (as opposed to just below the collarbones).

Throughout the centuries, many pectoral crosses have been made in the form of reliquaries which contain alleged fragments of the True Cross or relics of saints. Some such reliquary pectorals are hinged so that they open to reveal the relic, or the relic may be visible from the front through glass.

Historical use

A pectoral cross worn by the 7th-century female teenager of the Trumpington bed burial The Trumpington Cross in the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.jpg
A pectoral cross worn by the 7th-century female teenager of the Trumpington bed burial

One of the earliest mentions of a pectoral cross is its mention by Pope Hilarius in 461. In 811 Nicephorus sent Pope Leo III a golden pectoral cross. At this time, pectoral crosses were worn by both clergy and laity.[ citation needed ]

The widespread official use of a pectoral cross, however, did not begin in the Western church until around the 14th century. The use of the pectoral cross in the Roman Rite was first required in the Roman Pontifical of Pius V.[ citation needed ]

The first Anglican bishop to wear a pectoral cross was Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln (1885–1910).[ citation needed ]

Roman Catholic practice

Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc of Vietnam wearing Pope Francis' pectoral cross suspended by a chain while in cassock Duc Tong Giam muc Phaolo Bui Van Doc.jpg
Archbishop Paul Bùi Văn Đọc of Vietnam wearing Pope Francis' pectoral cross suspended by a chain while in cassock

In the Roman Catholic Church, a pectoral cross is one of the pontificals used by the pope, cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Various popes have extended this privilege to abbots, abbesses and some cathedral canons. For Cardinals the use is regulated by Motu Proprio "Crux Pectoralis" of Pius X.

A pectoral cross is worn with both clerical suits or religious habits, and when attending both liturgical or civil functions. With a clerical suit, the pectoral cross is worn either hung around the neck so it remains visible or is placed in the left shirt or coat pocket so the chain is still visible but the cross is not (this is not actually an official requirement, but is done for practical purposes). If a cassock is worn, the pectoral cross is either suspended from the prelate's neck and hangs free or is fastened to a front button with a special hook that is attached to the cross. The presence of a pectoral cross is useful to distinguish a bishop from a monsignor, since they wear similar cassocks.

In choir dress—that is, when he wears a cassock, rochet and mozzetta—the pectoral cross is usually suspended by a cord of silk. This cord is green and gold for an archbishop or a bishop, and red and gold for a cardinal and gold for the pope. An abbot makes use of a black and gold silk cord while an abbess and canon would use a black silk cord. Formerly, protonotaries apostolic wore a pectoral cross on a purple silk cord when celebrating in pontificals.

Cardinal Patabendige Don of Colombo wearing a pectoral cross suspended by a cord while in choir dress Cardinal Ranjith.jpg
Cardinal Patabendige Don of Colombo wearing a pectoral cross suspended by a cord while in choir dress

When celebrating Mass, bishops wear the pectoral cross suspended by the cord over the alb but under the chasuble, where it is not visible. However, some bishops wear their pectoral cross over their chasuble, suspended by a chain.

If clerics who do not possess episcopal character wish to wear a pectoral cross, it is presumed that they are free to wear it under their clothes, so as not to confuse them with bishops. Again in practice some clergy who are not prelates do wear a pectoral cross.

It is worn over the alb during liturgical functions. The prelate should kiss the cross before putting it on his neck, and while putting it on say the prayer Munire me digneris (the origin of which dates back to the Middle Ages), in which he petitions God for protection against his enemies, and begs to bear in mind continually the Passion of Jesus, and the triumphs of the confessors of the Faith.

The pontifical pectoral cross is distinct from the simple cross, the use of which is often permitted by the pope to members of cathedral chapters. Canons, to whom this privilege has been granted, are permitted to wear the cross at choir service only, and not over the alb at liturgical services, unless specially permitted.

The pectoral is the latest addition to episcopal ornaments. The custom, however, of wearing a cross on the breast either with or without holy relics, dates back to ancient time and was observed not only by bishops, but also by priests and lay people. The first mention made of the pectoral cross as a part of pontifical ornament is made by Innocent III, and its use as such only became customary toward the close of the Middle Ages. As an adornment for bishops we meet it the first time toward the end of the thirteenth century (Durandus), but at that time it was not generally worn by bishops. As Durandus says: "it was left to the discretion of the individual bishop to wear it or not".

Anglican practice

The Rt. Rev. Soo Yee Po, Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Western Kowloon Sooyeepo.jpg
The Rt. Rev. Soo Yee Po, Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Western Kowloon

The widespread use of pectoral crosses has been revived in the Anglican Communion, and is usually limited to bishops. The pectorals worn by Anglican bishops do not normally have the corpus (body of Jesus) depicted on them. They may be decorated with amethyst [3] or a bishop's mitre, and are usually suspended from a simple gold chain. Anglo-Catholic bishops may follow more of the Roman Catholic model.

Other Anglican clergy occasionally wear crosses around their necks, but their appearance and form are generally more modest so as not to confuse them with bishops (who also generally wear purple, palatinate, or amaranth magenta shirts).

At their meeting in The Vatican on 21 November 2009 to resolve tensions over an offer for disaffected Anglicans to convert to Rome, the Pope gave the Archbishop of Canterbury a pectoral Cross. This was interpreted by some observers [4] as an indication that the Pope recognized the Archbishop of Canterbury as a Bishop, in spite of Apostolicae curae a papal bull from 1897 under which the Catholic Church refuses to recognize the validity of Anglican ordination.

Protestant practice

In recent years,[ when? ] Protestant churches have returned to more traditional ceremonial dress from either the Catholic, Orthodox or Anglican tradition. Pectoral crosses are worn by clergy in many denominations, mainly Lutheranism, by a bishop, or by a pastor or occasionally by choristers or liturgical assistants in other denominations. Generally speaking, only prelates will wear a gold cross suspended with a chain when wearing ceremonial garments or when wearing a suit, in one's left pocket over the heart. Clergy who are not bishops usually wear a silver cross suspended by a cord (usually black). In some denominations the colour of the cord refers to a specific position held in that denomination.

The bishop of Strangnas Thure Annerstedt wearing a pectoral cross of the model used in the Church of Sweden. Thure Annerstedt.JPG
The bishop of Strängnäs Thure Annerstedt wearing a pectoral cross of the model used in the Church of Sweden.

Church of Sweden

In the Church of Sweden, pectoral crosses were reintroduced for bishops in 1805 by king Gustav IV Adolf. The model of 1805 is still in use today. Bishops wear a simple latin cross of gold suspended by a gold chain. The archbishop of Uppsala uses the same model with the addition of golden rays in the angles of the cross.

Eastern Catholic and Orthodox practice

Russian Orthodox Archimandrite Palladius (Kafarov), wearing gold pectoral cross with jewels (1888) Arkhimandrit Palladii.jpg
Russian Orthodox Archimandrite Palladius (Kafarov), wearing gold pectoral cross with jewels (1888)
Orthodox Silver pectoral cross Pectoral cross (orthodox).jpg
Orthodox Silver pectoral cross

In Orthodox practice, the pectoral cross is worn by all bishops, but not necessarily by all priests. In the Greek tradition, the pectoral cross is only given to specific priests for faithful service; in the Russian tradition, the silver cross is worn by all priests. Whenever the cross is put on, the wearer first uses it to make the Sign of the Cross on himself and then kisses it and puts it on.

The priest's cross depicts the crucified Christ, whether in painted form as an icon, or in relief. However, the Orthodox crucifix differs from the Western type by the fact that the soma (body of Christ) is not in full three-dimensional form, but in no more than three-quarter relief. It also bears the inscription INBI (the titulus that Pontius Pilate placed above the head of Jesus at the crucifixion) and the letters IC XC NIKA around the four arms of the cross. Orthodox pectoral crosses are almost always on chains of either silver or gold, sometimes with intricately worked links. Priest's crosses will often have an icon of Christ "Made Without Hands" at the top. This is the icon before which Orthodox Christians usually confess their sins. In Russian practice, the back of a priest's cross is usually inscribed with St. Paul's words to St. Timothy: "Be an example to the believers in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4:12).

Orthodox pectoral crosses are awarded in several degrees (particularly in the Russian tradition):

When vesting before celebrating the Divine Liturgy, the pectoral cross is presented to the bishop who will bless the pectoral, cross himself with it, kiss the cross and put it on. Meanwhile, the Protodeacon, swinging the censer says the following prayer:

He who would be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24, etc.); always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

A priest may be granted the right to wear a second pectoral cross.

A priest who has been given the pectoral cross will typically wear it at all times, whether vested or not.

In Russian practice, a nun who is not an abbess may also be granted the privilege of wearing a pectoral cross, as an honorary award (however, this award is not granted to monks who are not priests).

Coptic Church

The pectoral cross worn by Coptic bishops and abbots is sometimes made from intricately worked leather, though metal pectorals are also used.

Footnotes

  1. "Pectorale". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  2. "Pectoral Cross". Episcopal Church. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  3. "Amethysts and Bishops' Rings", by William V. Rauscher
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/6624661/Archbishop-of-Canterbury-tells-Pope-that-Catholic-row-left-him-feeling-awkward.html

Related Research Articles

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Mantle (monastic vesture) ecclesiastical overgarment

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.

Subdeacon is a title used in various branches of Christianity.

Acolyte profession

An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone performing ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles. In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.

Cassock ankle-length garment worn as Christian clerical clothing

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.

Vestment clothing prescribed for Christian clergy performing specific roles

Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Many other groups also make use of liturgical garments; this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since, in particular during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.

Pontifical High Mass

In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be any bishop, and not just a pope.

Stole (vestment) long narrow cloth band worn around the neck and falling from the shoulders as part of ecclesiastical dress

The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38-39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard, which can be replaced more cheaply than the stole itself.

Cincture cord belt worn with ecclesiastical dress

The cincture is a rope-like or ribbon-like article sometimes worn with certain Christian liturgical vestments, encircling the body around or above the waist. There are two types of cinctures: one is a rope-like narrow girdle or rope-like belt around the waist. The other type is a broad ribbon of cloth that runs around the waist and usually has a section that hangs down from the waist; this type is often called a "band cincture". One or both types are typically used in various Christian denominations. Both types are used in the various Western rites of the Catholic Church and provinces of the Anglican Communion. Consecrated members of the various Eastern rites, whether in the Catholic Church, or in the various Orthodox communions, sometimes wear a belt referred to as a zone.

Mitre liturgical headdresses worn by Christian bishops and abbots

The mitre or miter, is a type of headgear now known as the traditional, ceremonial headdress of bishops and certain abbots in traditional Christianity. Mitres are worn in the Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also by bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also wears a mitre during important ceremonies such as the Episcopal Consecration.

Zucchetto skullcap worn by ordained clergy in the Roman Catholic church as part of ecclesiastical dress

The zucchetto is a small, hemispherical, form-fitting ecclesiastical skullcap worn by clerics of various Catholic churches, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and by the higher clergy in Anglicanism. The plural is zucchetti; it is also known by the names pilus, pilos, pileus, pileolus (pileolo), subbiretum, submitrale, soli deo (solideo), berrettino, calotte (calotta).

Cope semicircular liturgical mantle

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.

Papal regalia and insignia

Papal regalia and insignia are the official items of attire and decoration proper to the Pope in his capacity as the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.

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.

Clerical collar detachable collar worn by Christian clergy

A clerical collar, clergy collar, Roman collar, is an item of Christian clerical clothing. The collar closes at the back of the neck, presenting a seamless front. The shirt may have the collar built in. The clerical collar is almost always white and was originally made of cotton or linen but is now frequently made of plastic. Sometimes it is attached with a collaret or collarino that covers the white collar almost completely, except for a small white square at the base of the throat, and sometimes with the top edge of the collar exposed to mimic the collar of a cassock. It may simply be a detachable tab of white in the front of the clerical shirt. The clerical shirt is traditionally black, but today is available in a variety of colors depending on the wearer's preference. Once the clerical collar is removed the garment is indistinguishable from any other shirt. When clergy are delivering sermons, they sometimes attach preaching bands to their clerical collar.

Choir dress a traditional costume of clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches

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 Churches which originated in the sixteenth-century Reformation.

Religious habit Distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order

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.

Bishop in the Catholic Church ordained minister in the Catholic Church (for other religious denominations, use Q29182)

In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.

Pontifical vestments, also referred to as episcopal vestments or pontificals, are the liturgical vestments worn by bishops in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and some Lutheran churches, in addition to the usual priestly vestments for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments. The pontifical vestments are only worn when celebrating or presiding over liturgical functions. As such, the garments should not be confused with choir dress, which are worn when attending liturgical functions but not celebrating or presiding.

Cross necklace

A cross necklace is any necklace featuring a Christian cross or crucifix.

References

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pectorale". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.