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Colors, Liturgical.

Little is known of the origin of their use. Order for their RC use was est. by Innocent III and Pius V (see Popes, 10, 21). The basic colors have been retained in Angl. and Luth. chs.

White symbolizes innocence and holiness, majesty and glory, festivity and joy; red, color of fire and blood, symbolizes the Holy Ghost, martyrdom, fervor, and love; green symbolizes hope, peace, and life; violet is the color of penitence and mourning; black symbolizes humiliation, sadness, deep mourning, and death. RC usage also includes rose on Gaudetc (3d Sunday in Adv.) and Laetare (4th Sunday in Lent), and allows gold instead of white, red, and green, and silver instead of white.

Basic directives for use of liturgical colors: violet from and with Vespers on the Eve of Advent up to, but not including, Vespers on Christmas Eve; white from and with Vespers on Christmas Eve through the Epiphany Octave, including Vespers on January 13; green from and with Matins on January 14 up to, but not including, Vespers on the Saturday before Septuagesima; violet from and with Vespers on the Saturday before Septuagesima up to, but not including, Vespers on the Saturday before Easter; white from and with Vespers on the Saturday before Easter up to, but not including, Vespers on the Saturday before Pent.; red from and with Vespers on the Saturday before Pent. up to, but not including, Vespers on the Saturday before Trin. Sunday; white from and with Vespers on the Saturday before Trin. Sunday through the Trin. Octave, including Vespers on the 1st Sunday after Trin.; green from and with Matins on Monday after the 1st Sunday after Trin. up to, but not including, Vespers on the Eve on Adv. If special days are observed, the color for the day should be used.

White is proper for Circumcision and the Name of Jesus, John the Apostle and Evangelist, Transfiguration, Conversion of Paul, Presentation, Annunciation, Ascension, Nativity of John the Baptist, Visitation, Mary Magdalene, Michael and All Angels, All Saints' Day, Dedication of a ch. and its anniversary, days of gen. or special thanksgiving; may be used on Maundy Thu. if Communion is celebrated. Red is proper for Reformation and its Octave and on commemorating the death of martyrs: Thomas, Stephen, Holy Innocents, Matthias, Mark, Philip and James, Peter and Paul, James the Elder, Bartholomew, Luke, Simon and Jude, Andrew. Violet is proper for the Day of Humiliation and Prayer. Black is proper for Good Friday.

Some use green from Septuagesima through Shrove Tuesday (see Shrovetide); in that case it is proper to use white from Matins on January 14 up to, but not including, Vespers on the Saturday before Septuagesima. Violet may be used from Matins on the Monday after Rogation Sunday up to, but not including, Vespers on the Wednesday before Ascension Day, and on Holy Innocents' Day when it falls during the week.

If a day is observed by a service on the preceding evening (e.g., a Thanksgiving Eve service) it is proper to use the color of the day that is being observed. If there is a conflict (e.g., when St. Andrew's Day falls on the 1st Sunday in Adv.), consult a liturgical calendar; where none is available, let good judgment apply. New Year's Eve, New Year's Day as such, Mother's Day, Mission Festival, weddings, funerals, confirmation services, Communion, and similar occasions are not part of the liturgical yr. and as such have no colors assigned to them; the colors that are normally in season may be used. LP


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod


Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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