Vestment

Last updated
Clergy of various ranks in vestments celebrating Mass according to the Neo-Gallican Rite of Versailles Elevation of the chalice. Rite versaillais.jpg
Clergy of various ranks in vestments celebrating Mass according to the Neo-Gallican Rite of Versailles Elevation of the chalice.

Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics (Latin Church and others), 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.

Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Contents

For other garments worn by clergy, see also clerical clothing.

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.

Origins of vestments

In the early Christian churches, officers and leaders, like their congregations, wore the normal dress of civil life in the Greco-Roman world, although with an expectation that the clothing should be clean and pure during holy observances. From the 4th century onward, however, modifications began to be made to the form of the garments, and as secular fashions changed from the 6th century the church retained the original forms of their garments, although with separate development and with regional variations. The Catholic churches had essentially established their final forms in the 13th century. [1]

Greco-Roman world Regions historically influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans

The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth), when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally were directly, long-term, and intimately influenced by the language, culture, government and religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is also better known as the Classical Civilisation. In exact terms the area refers to the "Mediterranean world", the extensive tracts of land centered on the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins, the "swimming-pool and spa" of the Greeks and Romans, i.e. one wherein the cultural perceptions, ideas and sensitivities of these peoples were dominant.

The Reformation brought about a new approach towards simplicity, especially under the influence of Calvinism. The Church of England experienced its own controversies over the proper use of vestments. [1] The resulting varieties of liturgical dress are described below.

Reformation Schism within the Christian Church in the 16th century

The Reformation was a movement within Western Christianity in the sixteenth-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Roman Catholic Church and papal authority in particular. Although the Reformation is usually considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517, there was no schism between the Catholic Church and the nascent Luther until the 1521 Edict of Worms. The edict condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas. The end of the Reformation era is disputed: it could be considered to end with the enactment of the confessions of faith which began the Age of Orthodoxy. Other suggested ending years relate to the Counter-Reformation, the Peace of Westphalia, or that it never ended since there are still Protestants today.

Calvinism Protestant branch of Christianity

Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Rubrics for vesting

The rubrics (regulations) for the type of vestments to be worn vary between the various communions and denominations. In some, clergy are directed to wear special clerical clothing in public at all, most, or some times. This generally consists of a clerical collar, clergy shirt, and (on certain occasions) a cassock. In the case of members of religious orders, non-liturgical wear includes a religious habit. This ordinary wear does not constitute liturgical vestment, but simply acts as a means of identifying the wearer as a member of the clergy or a religious order.

Clerical collar detachable collar worn by Christian clergy

A clerical collar, clergy collar, or 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 tab 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.

Cassock ankle-length garment worn as Christian clerical clothing

The cassock or soutane is an item of Christian clerical clothing used by the clergy of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed churches, among others. "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.

Christian monasticism

Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of individuals who live ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). The word monk originated from the Greek monachos "monk", itself from monos meaning "alone".

A distinction is often made between the type of vestment worn for Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion and that worn for other services. Non-Eucharistic vestments are typically referred to as "choir dress" or "choir habit" in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches, because they are worn for the chanting of the Daily Office, which, in the West, takes place in the choir rather than the sanctuary. In other traditions, there is no specific name for this attire, although it often takes the form of a Geneva gown worn with or without preaching bands and a stole or preaching scarf.

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.

Choir (architecture) part of a church

A choir, also sometimes called quire, is the area of a church or cathedral that provides seating for the clergy and church choir. It is in the western part of the chancel, between the nave and the sanctuary, which houses the altar and Church tabernacle. In larger medieval churches it contained choir-stalls, seating aligned with the side of the church, so at right-angles to the seating for the congregation in the nave. Smaller medieval churches may not have a choir in the architectural sense at all, and they are often lacking in churches built by all denominations after the Protestant Reformation, though the Gothic Revival revived them as a distinct feature.

Sanctuary sacred place

A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.

Illustration of liturgical garments from Acta Eruditorum, 1713 Acta Eruditorum - III paramentiEcclesiastici, 1713 - BEIC 13382570.jpg
Illustration of liturgical garments from Acta Eruditorum, 1713

In the more ancient traditions, each vestment—or at least the stole—will have a cross on it, which the clergy kiss before putting it on. A number of churches also have special vesting prayers which are recited before putting each vestment on, especially the Eucharistic vestments.

Latin Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Protestant vestments

For the Eucharist, each vestment symbolizes a spiritual dimension of the priesthood, with roots in the very origins of the Church. In some measure these vestments harken to the Roman roots of the Western Church.

Use of the following vestments varies. Some are used by all Western Christians in liturgical traditions. Many are used only in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and there is much variation within each of those churches.

Used by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and some other Protestants

Cassock
an item of clerical clothing; a long, close-fitting, ankle-length robe worn by clerics of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and some Reformed churches.
Gold-embroidered epitrachilion (stole) - Google Art Project Gold-embroidered epitrachilion (stole) - Google Art Project.jpg
Gold-embroidered epitrachilion (stole) - Google Art Project
Stole  
The long, narrow strip of cloth draped around the neck, a vestment of distinction, a symbol of ordination. Deacons wear it draped across the left shoulder diagonally across the body to the right hip while priests and bishops wear it draped around the back of the neck. It may be crossed in the front and secured with the cincture. Traditionally, this was done by priests when wearing Eucharistic vestments, whereas bishops always wore it uncrossed (as possessing the fullness of the priesthood). In modern usage, it is common for both bishops and priests to wear the stole uncrossed. Corresponds to the Orthodox orarion and epitrachelion (see below).
Alb  
The common garment of any ministers at the eucharist, worn over a cassock. Most closely corresponds to the Orthodox sticharion (see below). Symbolizes baptismal garment. See also cassock-alb.
Cassock-alb
or cassalb is a relatively modern garment and is a combination of the traditional cassock and alb. It developed as a convenient undergarment (or alternative to a cassock at the Eucharist) worn by clergy and as an alternative to the alb for deacons and acolytes.
A white or off-white cassock-alb has replaced the traditional cassock and alb in some Anglican and Lutheran churches since the 1970s. On rules concerning its use, see The Church Times [2]
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 cross  
A large cross worn on a chain or necklace around the neck by clergy of many Christian denominations. In some traditions it is associated with bishops. In the Roman Catholic tradition it is only worn by bishops, abbots, and certain canons who are granted the use of the pectoral cross by special indult. In choir dress the cross is gold with a green rope, red for cardinals. In house dress, it is silver with a silver chain.

Used by Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans

Surplice  
A white tunic worn over a cassock or habit. It is commonly worn by altar servers, choir members and also in Catholic and high church Anglicanism it may be worn by clergy who are attending a eucharist but not the celebrant. Among lower church Anglicans and some Lutherans and Methodists the Surplice is sometimes worn with a stole or scarf (and less often by itself) as the proper vestment for the Eucharist.
Cope  
A circular cape reaching to the ankle, commonly used by bishops and priests and, sometimes, also by deacons. In traditions that historically reject the use of the Chasuble the Cope may be used as a Eucharistic vestment.
Rochet  
Similar to a surplice but with narrower sleeves. In Catholic and Anglo-Catholic use it is often highly decorated with lace. The Anglican version is bound at the cuffs with a band of cloth and worn with a chimere. Its use is reserved to bishops and certain canons.
Zucchetto  
A skull cap, similar to the Jewish kippah. Commonly worn by bishops (including cardinals and the Pope) and less commonly by other clergy.
Mitre  
Worn by bishops and some abbots. Despite the having the same name, this does not really correspond with the Eastern mitre (see below), which has a distinct history and which was adopted much later.

Used by some Roman Catholics and some Anglicans and Lutherans

Maniple  
A liturgical handkerchief bound about the wrist, it is only used during the Mass. The maniple fell out of common use with the 1970 post conciliar liturgical reform, but is gaining in popularity in many circles and is used today in the context of the Tridentine Mass, in which it is required by rubrics, and in some Anglo-Catholic and other parishes. According to some authorities, this corresponds to the Orthodox epigonation (see below).
Humeral veil  
Long cloth rectangle draped around the shoulders and used to cover the hands of the priest when carrying the monstrance. It is also worn by the subdeacon when holding the paten.
Biretta  
A rectangular cap that may be worn by clergy of all ranks except the Pope; its color can signify rank.
Tunicle  
The outermost garment of subdeacons.
Chasuble  
The outermost sacramental garment of priests and bishops, often quite decorated. It is only worn for the celebration of the Eucharist. Corresponds to the Orthodox phelonion (see below). See also chasuble-alb.
Dalmatic  
The outermost garment of deacons.
Amice  
a cloth around the neck used to cover the collar of street attire. It is worn by the celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon for the Mass.
Cincture  
or Girdle. It is a long woven cord used to cinch the alb at the waist, and to contain the stole as it hangs down the body. Corresponds to the Orthodox zone.

Used only by Roman Catholics

Pallium  
A narrow band of lamb's wool decorated with six black crosses, worn about the neck with short pendants front and back, worn by the Pope and bestowed by him to Metropolitan bishops and Archbishops. Corresponds to the Orthodox omophorion (see below).
Rationale  
An episcopal humeral worn over the chasuble. It is only used by the Bishops of Eichstätt, Paderborn, Toul, and Cracow (Kraków). Until the 17th century, it was also in use in the Bishopric of Regensburg (Ratisbon). [3]
Pontifical gloves  
The liturgical gloves worn by a bishop celebrating a Pontifical Solemn Mass. They are usually seen today only within the context of the Tridentine Mass.
Pontifical sandals  
The liturgical sandals worn by a bishop celebrating a Pontifical Solemn Mass. They are usually covered by the liturgical stockings, which are of the liturgical color of the Mass. They are usually seen today only within the context of the Tridentine Mass.
Fanon  
A double-layered mozzetta, now only occasionally worn by the Pope during solemn Pontifical High Masses.
Papal tiara  
Formerly worn by the Pope at his coronation and at other key moments; it has fallen out of use but may be revived at any time if the reigning Pontiff wishes. Apart from the coronation, this was only worn on special occasions such as during Ex Cathedra announcements, some solemn processions and the blessing Urbi et Orbi .
Subcinctorium  
A vestment similar to a broad maniple but worn suspended from the right side of the cincture, decorated with a cross on one end and an agnus dei on the other; worn only by the Pope during a Pontifical High Mass.
Falda  
A vestment that forms a long skirt extending from under the hem of the alb; worn only by the Pope during a Pontifical High Mass and draped over the Pope's body at a Papal Funeral.

Used only by Anglicans

Chimere  
Red or black outer garment of bishops. Resembles a knee-length open-front waist coat.
Gaiters  
Covering of the lower leg worn by archdeacons and bishop. Black, buttoned up the sides and worn to just below the knee. Largely obsolete.
Canterbury cap  
a soft square-shaped hat.
This Lutheran pastor is wearing a Geneva gown and Preaching Bands LutheranClergy.JPG
This Lutheran pastor is wearing a Geneva gown and Preaching Bands

Used by some Anglicans and Protestants

Tippet
(or preaching scarf). A black scarf worn by bishops, priests and deacons in Anglican churches. It is worn in the same fashion as a stole, but does not have the same significance. Dissenting ministers also historically wore these and, though now rare, it is re-emerging in some Presbyterian and Baptist circles. A blue tippet is also used in Anglican churches by readers, which are members of the laity who have been given special license from the bishop to lead non-sacramental services in the absence of an ordained person. The blue colour differentiates readers from clergy.
Academic Gown
Also known as the "Geneva Gown", this is a simple vestment with open, wide and bell-shaped sleeves. The gown is traditionally worn open (or vented) over a cassock, with preaching bands and an academic hood. Historically, Anglican clergy would remove their surplice and put on a black gown for the preaching, though this practice is rare today. Also, along with preaching bands, it formed the typical daily dress of Anglican clergy from the Reformation until the early 19th century. English Dissenting churches (Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Baptists) preferred to wear the gown alone with the cassock and bands at all times, most being wary of the surplice (a remnant of the "Surplice War" cause by the reforms enacted by Archbishop William Laud, referred to as "Laudianism").
Academic Hood  
Hoods, which denote the highest academic degree of their wearers, are usually worn by Anglican clergy at choir offices. It is also sometimes worn by Methodists and Reformed/Presbyterian clergy with an academic gown ("Geneva Gown"), though this is fairly rare in the United States.
Bands
a type of neckwear taking the form of two oblong pieces of white cloth which is tied about the neck so to hang from the collar. Sometimes referred to as "preaching bands", they are worn traditionally by most of the Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist clergy with a cassock (with or without a surplice) or gown.

Paleo-Orthodoxy and Emerging Church movements

Among the Paleo-Orthodoxy and Emerging Church movements in Protestant and evangelical churches, which includes many Methodists and Presbyterians, clergy are moving away from the traditional black Geneva gown and reclaiming not only the more ancient Eucharist vestments of alb and chasuble, but also cassock and surplice (typically a full length Old English style surplice which resembles the Celtic alb, an ungirdled liturgical tunic of the old Gallican Rite).

Eastern Church vestments

Byzantine Rite

Ukrainian Catholic priest wearing sticharion, phelonion, epitrachelion, zone, epimanikia, and pectoral cross at a church in the United States. Fr. Pavlo Smiling.jpg
Ukrainian Catholic priest wearing sticharion, phelonion, epitrachelion, zone, epimanikia, and pectoral cross at a church in the United States.
Icon of St. Gregory the Illuminator wearing the omophorion, a type of phelonion worn by bishops called the polystavrion, epigonation, epitrachelion and sticharion (fourteenth century fresco, Mistras). Meister der Aphentico-Kirche in Mistra 001.jpg
Icon of St. Gregory the Illuminator wearing the omophorion, a type of phelonion worn by bishops called the polystavrion, epigonation, epitrachelion and sticharion (fourteenth century fresco, Mistras).
An Eastern Catholic bishop of the Syro-Malabar Church along with other priests Kanjirappally Bishop Mar Mathew Arackal at Tomb of Mar Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly.jpg
An Eastern Catholic bishop of the Syro-Malabar Church along with other priests
Eastern Catholic bishop wearing a sakkos, omophorion, and mitre (Presov, Slovakia). Jan Babjak SJ.jpg
Eastern Catholic bishop wearing a sakkos, omophorion, and mitre (Prešov, Slovakia).
Archbishop John (Maximovich) wearing an episcopal mantle. Stjohn shanghai.png
Archbishop John (Maximovich) wearing an episcopal mantle.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, any member of the clergy of whatever rank, will be vested when serving his particular function during the Divine Liturgy or other service. As in the Latin Church, the use of vestments is rooted in the early history of the church. The various vestments serve several different functions. The three forms of stole (Orarion, Epitrachelion, and Omophorion) are marks of rank. The three outer garments (Sticharion, Phelonion, and Sakkos) serve to distinguish the clergy from the laity. Some are practical (Zone and Epimanikia), holding the other vestments in place. Some (Nabedrennik and Epigonation) are awards of distinction.

In addition to these functions, most vestments carry a symbolic meaning as well. These symbolic meanings are often indicated by the prayer that the priest says as he puts each item on. These prayers are verses taken directly from the Old Testament, usually the Psalms. For example, the prayer for the Sticharion is from Isaiah 61:10:

My soul will rejoice in the Lord, for he has clothed me with a garment of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of gladness; he has placed a crown on my head as on a bridegroom, and adorned me with beauty as a bride. [4]
Sticharion (Greek στιχάριον) 
Actually a form of the garment worn at baptism, this is the one vestment worn by all clergy. It is also used by non-ordained persons carrying out a liturgical function, such as altar servers. For priests and bishops, it is made of lightweight material, usually white. It corresponds most closely with the Western alb (see above).
Orarion (Greek ὀράριον) 
A long narrow strip of cloth worn by deacons over the left shoulder and reaching to the ankle in both front and back. It is also worn by subdeacons and, in some places of the Greek tradition, by tonsured altar servers. It corresponds to the Western stole (see above).
Epitrachelion (Greek ἐπιτραχήλιον, "over the neck") 
This stole is worn by priests and bishops as the symbol of their priesthood. It is worn around the neck with the two adjacent sides sewn or buttoned together, leaving enough space through which to place the head. It corresponds to the Western stole (see above).
Epimanikia (Greek ἐπιμανίκια) 
Cuffs bound with laces. The deacon wears them beneath the sticharion, priests and bishops above. They are not used by any lower rank.It corresponds mostly to the Western bishop's gloves.(see above)
Zone (Greek ζώνη) 
Cloth belt worn by priests and bishops over the epitrachelion. Corresponds to the Western cincture (see above).
Phelonion (Greek φαιλόνιον or φελόνιον) 
Large conical sleeveless garment worn by priests over all other vestments, with the front largely cut away to free the hands. Byzantine rite Bishops may also wear the phelonion when not serving according to hierarchical rubrics. Corresponds to the Western chasuble (see above).
Sakkos (Greek σάκκος) 
Instead of the phelonion, the bishop usually wears the sakkos or Imperial dalmatic. This is a tunic reaching below the knees with wide sleeves and a distinctive pattern of trim. It is always buttoned up the sides.
Nabedrennik (Slavonic набедренникъ) 
A square or rectangular cloth suspended on the right side by two adjacent corners from a strap drawn over the left shoulder. This is a relatively recent Russian invention and is not used in the Greek tradition. It is an award, so it is not worn by all priests. Bishops do not wear it.
Epigonation/Palitsa (Greek ἐπιγονάτιον "over the knee"; Slavonic палица, "club") 
A stiff diamond-shaped cloth that hangs on the right side of the body; it is suspended by one corner from a strap drawn over the left shoulder. It is worn by all bishops and as an award for priests.
Omophorion (Greek ὠμοφόριον) 
This is the distinctive episcopal vestment, a wide cloth band draped about the shoulders in a characteristic manner. It corresponds to the Western pallium (see above).
Mitre (Greek Μίτρα) 
The Byzantine Orthodox mitre is modeled on the ancient Byzantine imperial crown; it is worn by all bishops and in some Slavic traditions also awarded to some high-ranking priests. The bishop's mitre is surmounted by a cross, but the priest's is not; both are bulbous and adorned with icons. Coptic Orthodox & Ethiopian Orthodox bishops also wear the Byzantine mitre. Armenian Orthodox, on the other hand, have the Byzantine mitre as part of the normal vestments worn by priests of all ranks, and their bishops are distinguished by wearing mitres after the western shape. Mitres are not worn in the Syriac Orthodox tradition, where a decorated hood like an amice called masnaphto, meaning 'turban', is worn instead by prelates. [5]
Pectoral cross  
A large cross is worn around the neck by all bishops, but not necessarily by all priests. In Russian usage, the style of Pectoral cross worn indicates the rank of the priest.
Engolpion/Panagia  
Engolpion (Greek ἐγκόλπιον) is a general term for something worn upon the bosom; here, it refers to a medallion with an icon in the center. A Panagia (Greek Παναγία, All-holy, one of the titles of the Theotokos) is an engolpion with Mary as the subject of the icon; this is worn by all bishops. All primates and some bishops below primatial rank have the dignity of a second engolpion, which usually depicts Christ.
Mantle (Greek μανδύας) 
This is a sleeveless cape that fastens at the neck and the feet, worn by all monks. The usual monastic mantle is black; that worn by the bishop as he enters the church for a service but before he is vested is more elaborately colored and decorated. This is, strictly speaking, an item of street wear, not a vestment; however, in modern usage it is worn only in church.


Despite their often elaborate design, the vestments are generally intended to focus attention on God, and the office of the person wearing them, rather than on the person himself. It is partly for this reason that a Russian phelonion is designed with a very high back, so that when the priest is standing facing the altar his head is almost completely hidden. Other items, such as the epimanikia or cuffs, represent manacles or chains, reminding the wearer and others that their office is a position of service.

Eastern Orthodox examples

Liturgical
Orthodox Priest Liturgy.png
Eastern Orthodox Priest Polystavrion.png
Orthodox Priest Vespers.png
Orthodox Deacon Liturgy.png
Orthodox Subdeacon Liturgy.png
Orthodox Altar Server Liturgy.png
Priest vested for Liturgy,
this is an Exomologos (confessor Priest)
who, in the Greek tradition, has the honor of wearing the Epigonation.
Priest vested for LiturgyPriest vested for Vespers
and smaller services
Protodeacon vested for LiturgySubdeacon vested for LiturgyAltar Server/Chanter vested for Liturgy
Non-liturgical
Eastern Orthodox Bishop.png
Orthodox Priest Kontorasion.png
Eastern Orthodox Priest.png
Orthodox Monk-Priest.png
Eastern Orthodox Schema Monk.png
Monk.png
Eastern Orthodox Reader.png
BishopPriest with grey Zostikon, a
Kontorasson and wearing a Skufia.
PriestHieromonkSchemamonkMonk in an ExorassonReader/Subdeacon/Deacon
dressed in the Zostikon

Oriental Churches

Within the Oriental Orthodox and Oriental Catholics there is much variance as to what vestments are used.

Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Churches

In these Churches, general only a white robe will be used for the Eucharistic service. On more solemn occasions, an epitrachelion-like vestment is worn, and sometimes a vestment resembling a cope is worn. Priests and Bishops always carry a Hand Cross during services. Deacons wear either a orarion crossed over the left shoulder, or brought around the back (where the two pieces form a cross) and then hanging down in front (not crossed), secured by the cross piece.

Syrian/Indian Churches

In these Churches, a more full set of vestments is used. Apart from the usual Sticharion (called Kutino in Syriac), Epitrachelion (called Hamnikho), Zone (called Zenoro), and Epimanikia (called Zende), a priest will wear a Cope-like vestment called a Phanyo. Prelates will in addition wear a hood-like head-covering called a Masnaphto over the Kutino and under the Phanyo. Prelates will also wear a Batrashil or Pallium (similar to an Epitrachelion but reaching down in both front and back) as well as Pectoral Icons. In addition, they will have a vestment similar to the Epigonation worn attached the Zenoro on the right side (called a Sakro) and will carry a crosier and hand cross. Deacons wear the Kutino and a Orarion (called an Uroro) in different ways depending on their order:

  • Chanters wear only the Kutino
  • Readers wear the Uroro crossed like a Greek subdeacon
  • Subdeacons wear the Uroro crossed over the left shoulder
  • Deacons wear the Uroro like a Greek deacon
  • Archdeacons wear the Uroro with both ends hanging down in front, secured by a Zenoro, and they also wear Zende

Armenian Apostolic Church

Varkas  
This is a broad stiff band of heavily embroidered brocade and decoration, functioning like a collar, worn exclusively by Armenian Orthodox priests over the phelonion. It corresponds to, and is likely derived from, the Western amice.

Non-liturgical

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch.png
Syriac Orthodox Bishop.png
Coptic Orthodox Priest.png
Syriac Orthodox Priest.png
Syriac Orthodox Priest-Monk.png
Syriac PatriarchSyriac BishopCoptic PriestSyriac PriestSyriac Priest
(monk)

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Surplice loose, white vestments with long, full sleeves worn over a cassock by clergy and lay persons

A surplice is a liturgical vestment of the Western Christian Church. The surplice is in the form of a tunic of white linen or cotton fabric, reaching to the knees, with wide or moderately wide sleeves.

Altar server profession

An altar server is a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a Christian liturgy. An altar server attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying, ringing the altar bell, among other things. If young, the server is commonly called an altar boy or altar girl. In some Christian denominations, altar servers are known as acolytes.

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.

Chasuble vestment in the form of a wide cloak or mantle that slips over the wearers head and hangs open at the sides

The chasuble is the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christian churches that use full vestments, primarily in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and in the Eastern Catholic Churches, the equivalent vestment is the phelonion.

Dalmatic long, wide sleeved tunic, worn in Ancient Rome and Byzantium, and adopted as liturgical dress by Christian churches

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 or other services. Although infrequent, it may also be worn by bishops above the alb and below the chasuble, and is then referred to as pontifical dalmatic.

Alb long, full, close-sleeved garments worn by Christan clergy

The alb, one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist churches, is an ample white garment coming down to the ankles and is usually girdled with a cincture. It is simply the long, white linen tunic used by the ancient Romans.

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.

Geneva gown

The Geneva gown, also called a pulpit gown, pulpit robe, or preaching robe, is an ecclesiastical garment customarily worn by ordained ministers in the Christian churches that arose out of the historic Protestant Reformation. It is particularly associated with Protestant churches of the Reformed and Methodist tradition.

Sticharion

The sticharion is a liturgical vestment of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, roughly analogous in function to the alb of the Western Church. The sticharion is worn by all classes of ordained ministers in the Constantinopolitan Rite and comes in two forms: one worn by priests and one worn by deacon and other altar servers.

<i>Epitrachelion</i>

The epitrachelion is the liturgical vestment worn by priests and bishops of the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches as the symbol of their priesthood, corresponding to the Western stole. It is essentially the orarion adapted for priests and bishops, worn around the neck with the two ends hanging down equally in front and with the two adjacent sides sewn or buttoned together up the center, leaving enough space through which to place the head. In practice, the epitrachelion is made to be worn only this way, tailored to lie flat around the neck, and is never actually unfastened. The portion hanging down in front is sometimes even a solid piece of fabric. It is usually made of brocade with seven embroidered or appliquéd crosses, one at the back of the neck and three down each side. The epitrachelion is the only required vestment whenever a priest is conducting an Orthodox service; without it, he is unable to perform the service.

Reader (liturgy) a person who can read aloud the bible during catholic liturgy

In some Christian churches, a reader is responsible for reading aloud excerpts of scripture at a liturgy. In early Christian times the reader was of particular value due to the rarity of literacy.

Rochet white knee-length vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican bishop in choir dress, often trimmed with lace

A rochet is a white vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican bishop in choir dress. It is unknown in the Eastern churches. The rochet in its Roman form is similar to a surplice, except that the sleeves are narrower. In its Anglican form it is a descendant of the traditional albs worn by deacons and priests. In the Roman Catholic tradition, the rochet comes below the knee and its sleeves and hem are sometimes made of lace; in the Anglican tradition, the rochet comes down almost to the hem of the cassock and its sleeves are gathered at the wrist.

Epimanikia ornamental cuff worn as part of the vestments of certain Eastern Orthodox clergy

Epimanikia are liturgical vestments of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches. They are cuffs made of thickened fabric, usually brocade, that lace onto the wrists of a bishop, priest, or deacon. There is usually a cross embroidered or appliquéd to the center.

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.

The liturgical vestments of the Christian churches grew out of normal civil clothing, but the dress of church leaders began to be differentiated as early as the 4th century. By the end of the 13th century the forms used in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches had become established, while the Reformation led to changes in Protestant churches from the 16th century onward.

References

  1. 1 2 Phillips, Walter Alison (1911). "Vestments"  . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 1056–1062.
  2. http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=37346
  3. http://kreuzgang.org/pdf/klaus-gamber.superhumerale.pdf
  4. http://www.anastasis.org.uk/Proskom02+notes+diag.pdf
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20050429003948/http://www.svots.edu/Three-Hierarchs-Chapel/2005-0403-cross-ordinations/pages/DSC_0191_jpg.htm

Further reading