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.
For other garments worn by clergy, see also clerical clothing.
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.
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. The resulting varieties of liturgical dress are described below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
|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 Liturgy||Priest vested for Vespers
and smaller services
|Protodeacon vested for Liturgy||Subdeacon vested for Liturgy||Altar Server/Chanter vested for Liturgy|
|Bishop||Priest with grey Zostikon, a
Kontorasson and wearing a Skufia.
|Priest||Hieromonk||Schemamonk||Monk in an Exorasson||Reader/Subdeacon/Deacon |
dressed in the Zostikon
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.
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:
|Syriac Patriarch||Syriac Bishop||Coptic Priest||Syriac Priest||Syriac Priest |
The alb (from the Latin albus, meaning white), 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 (a type of belt, sometimes of rope similar to the type used with a monastic habit, such as by Franciscans and Capuchins). It is simply the long, white linen tunic used by the ancient Romans.
As a simple derivative of ordinary first-century clothing, the alb was adopted very early by Christians, and especially by the clergy for the Eucharistic liturgy. In early Medieval Europe it was also normally worn by secular clergy in non-liturgical contexts.Nowadays, the alb is the common vestment for all ministers at Mass, both clerics and laypersons, and is worn over the cassock and under any other special vestments, such as the stole, dalmatic or chasuble. If the alb does not completely cover the collar, an amice is often worn underneath the alb. The shortening of the alb has given rise to the surplice, and its cousin the rochet, worn by canons and bishops. Post-Tridentine albs often were made with lace. Since then, this detail has fallen out of style, except in parts of the Anglo-Catholic movement and some very traditional Arab Catholic parishes.Chasuble
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.
"The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 337). Like the stole, it is normally of the liturgical colour of the Mass being celebrated.Cincture
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 (or other) 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.In the Western rites of the Catholic Church, as a matter of customary terminology, the term cincture is most often applied to a long, rope-like cord with tassled or knotted ends, tied around the waist outside the alb. The colour may be white, or may vary according to the colour of the liturgical season. A Catholic bishop's cincture is made of intertwining gold and green threads, a cardinal's has red and gold, and the pope's with white and gold. When the cincture is tied in the front and the ends draped on either side, it is called a Roman Knot.
The same rope-like vestment is widely used in the Anglican, Methodist and Lutheran churches, as well as some other Protestant churches. However, in these denominations it is usually referred to as a "girdle", the term "cincture" being used instead to signify a broad sash-like vestment worn over the cassock somewhat above the waist. That is, the term "cincture" means the band cincture. The band cincture in the Roman Catholic Church is usually known as the "fascia".Cope
The cope (known in Latin as pluviale 'rain coat' or cappa 'cape') 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.
A cope may be worn by any rank of the clergy, and also by lay ministers in certain circumstances. If worn by a bishop, it is generally accompanied by a mitre. The clasp, which is often highly ornamented, is called a morse. In art, angels are often shown wearing copes, especially in Early Netherlandish painting.Dalmatic
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.
Like the chasuble worn by priests and bishops, it is an outer vestment and is supposed to match the liturgical colour of the day. The dalmatic is often made of the same material and decoration as a chasuble, so as to form a matching pair. Traditional Solemn Mass vestment sets include matching chasuble, dalmatic, and tunicle.
A dalmatic is also worn by the British monarch during the Coronation service.Falda
The falda is a particular papal vestment that forms a long skirt extending beneath the hem of the alb. When it is worn, the skirts of the falda are so long that the Pope needs train-bearers both in front and behind while he walks. It was used when the Pope celebrated Mass.This form of vestment has its origins in the 15th century and earlier. It was initially made of cream-coloured silk and worn over the alb and under the chasuble or cope. It can be used in papal funerals, where it was draped over the body when it lay in state. It has, since the Pontificate of Paul VI, fallen into disuse.Girdle
The term girdle, meaning "belt", commonly refers to the liturgical attire that normally closes a cassock in many Christian denominations, including the Anglican Communion, Methodist Church and Lutheran Church. The girdle, in the 8th or 9th century, was said to resemble an ancient Levitical Jewish vestment, and in that era, was not visible. In 800 AD, the girdle began to be worn by Christian deacons in the Eastern Church.The girdle, for men, symbolizes preparation and readiness to serve, and for women, represents chastity and protection; it was also worn by laypersons in the Middle Ages, as attested in literature. For example, the hagiographical account of Saint George and the Dragon mentions the evildoer being tamed with the sign of the cross and a girdle handed to Saint George by a virgin.Since the 20th century, the word "girdle" also has been used to define an undergarment made of elasticized fabric that was worn by women. It is a form-fitting foundation garment that encircles the lower torso, perhaps extending below the hips, and worn often to shape or for support. It may be worn for aesthetic or medical reasons. In sports or medical treatment, a girdle may be worn as a compression garment. This form of women's foundation wear replaced the corset in popularity, and was in turn to a large extent surpassed by the pantyhose in the 1960s.Maniple (vestment)
The maniple is a liturgical vestment used primarily within the Catholic Church, and occasionally used by some Anglo-Catholic and Lutheran clergy. It is an embroidered band of silk or similar fabric that when worn hangs from the left arm. It is only used within the context of the Mass, and it is of the same liturgical colour as the other Mass vestments.Mozzetta
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 mozzette 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.Omophorion
In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic liturgical tradition, the omophorion (Greek: ὠμοφόριον, meaning "[something] borne on the shoulders"; Slavonic: омофоръ, omofor) is the distinguishing vestment of a bishop and the symbol of his spiritual and ecclesiastical authority. Originally of wool, it is a band of brocade decorated with four crosses and an eight-pointed star and is worn about the neck and shoulders.By symbolizing the lost sheep that is found and carried on the Good Shepherd's shoulders, it signifies the bishop's pastoral role as the icon of Christ.
Clergy and ecclesiastical institutions subject to a bishop's authority are often said to be "under his omophorion".
The equivalent vestment in Western Christian usage is the archiepiscopal pallium, the use of which is subject to different rubrics and restrictions, while all Orthodox bishops wear the omophorion.Papal fanon
The fanon (old Germanic for cloth) is a vestment that around the 10th or 12th century became reserved for the Pope alone and for use only during a pontifical Mass. The Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon has the same privilege.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.Pontifical vestments
Pontifical vestments, also referred to as episcopal vestments or pontificals, are the liturgical vestments worn by bishops (and by concession some other prelates) 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.Rationale
Rationale may refer to:
An explanation of the basis or fundamental reasons for something
Design rationale, an explicit documentation of the reasons behind design decisions
Rationale (vestment), a liturgical vestment worn by some Roman Catholic bishops
Rationale (musician) (born 1984), Zimbabwean-born British singer and songwriter
Rationale (album), 2017Rationale (vestment)
A rationale, also called superhumerale (from Latin super, "over", and [h]umerus, "shoulder"; thus a garment worn "over the shoulder[s]"), is a liturgical vestment worn exclusively by bishops mostly in the Roman Catholic Church. It is mainly characterized as a humeral ornament - yet also adorning chest and back - and is worn over the chasuble. The term rationale originates from a Latin translation of the Ancient Greek λόγιον logion for the Hebrew חֹשֶׁן hoshen by St. Jerome, referring to the sacred breastplate worn by the High Priest of the Israelites, according to the Book of Exodus.
During the Middle Ages it was worn by several Bishops, primarily in the Holy Roman Empire, as far spread as Regensburg, Prague and Liège. Its use largely died out in the 13th century, although there is evidence that it was worn at Reims until the 16th century. Some rationales can be found preserved at Eichstätt, Bamberg and Regensburg. The earliest pictures of rationales that exist are two pictures of Bishop Sigebert of Minden, a miniature and an ivory tablet, which were both incorporated in a Mass Ordo belonging to the Bishop.The only Bishops who wear rationales in the 21st century are:
the Bishop of Eichstätt, Germany – Gregor Maria Franz Hanke, O.S.B. (since 2006),
the Metropolitan Archbishop of Paderborn, Germany – Hans-Josef Becker (since 2003),
the Bishop of Toul, now Nancy (-Toul), France – Jean-Louis Papin (since 1999), and
the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kraków, Poland – Marek Jędraszewski (since 2017).The modern rationale is a humeral collar, ornamented in the front and back with appendages.
Rationales are occasionally still worn by episcopi vagantes in the Celtic Christian Orthodox Church, a small community with historical links to the Old Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy.Stole (vestment)
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 (ornamental trim) 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.Sub-cinctorium
The subcinctorium is an ornamental vestment reserved for the pope, which is worn at a solemn pontifical Mass, it is very similar to, but somewhat broader than, the maniple in form and nature.
The vestment is approximately 55 centimeters (22 inches) in length and is attached on the cincture, on the right side. It was originally made of red or white fabric, but later came to follow the standard liturgical colours. It is decorated with gold embroidery on one end with a small Agnus Dei and on the other with a cross.
The subcinctorium is mentioned under the name of balteus as early as the end of the tenth century in a "Sacramentarium" of this date preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris (f. lat. 12052). It is mentioned under the name proecinctorium about 1030 in what is known as the "Missa Illyrica". Later it was generally called subcinctorium.
The original object of the subcinctorium was, as Thomas Aquinas explicitly says, to secure the stole to the cincture. But as early as about the close of the thirteenth century, it was merely an ornamental vestment. According to the inventories, even in the eleventh century much thought was given to its ornamentation. Most probably the subcinctorium was first used in France, whence the custom may possibly have spread to Italy about the close of the first millennium.
In the Middle Ages, it was worn not only by the pope but also by bishops, and even in a few places by priests. However, it gradually ceased to be a customary vestment of bishops and priests, and in the sixteenth century only the popes and the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Milan wore it.
Numerous symbolic meanings have been attached to the vestment over the centuries. One tradition says it is a remnant of the almspurse the popes would customarily wear on their belts to give to the poor and needy. It was also said to be a sign of humility, reminiscent of the towel worn by Jesus Christ at the washing of feet on Holy Thursday. Augustine of Hippo claims it is a remnant of the apparel of the Jewish High Priest. The subcinctorium is related to the epigonation worn to this day by Eastern Orthodox bishops.Surplice
A surplice (; Late Latin superpelliceum, from super, "over" and pellicia, "fur garment") 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.
It was originally a long garment with open sleeves reaching nearly to the ground. As it remains in the Western Catholic, Anglican, and some Lutheran traditions, the surplice often has shorter, closed sleeves and square shoulders. Anglicans typically refer to a Roman-style surplice with the Medieval Latin term cotta (meaning "cut-off' in Italian), as it is derived from the cut-off alb. English-speaking Catholics, however, typically do not make the distinction between the two styles and refer to both as a "surplice".Tunicle
The tunicle is a liturgical vestment associated with Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism.
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