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Vestments, Clerical.

1. Chief traditional vestments: The tunica talaris (from Lat. talus, “ankle, heel”), an ankle-length tunic, was fashioned after the common tunic. The dalmatic* was practically an ungirdled over-tunic; worn at high mass (see Missa solemnis) by deacons, now also by some prelates (e.g., bps.); white linen. The paenula or casula (chasuble*) is the outermost vestment worn by the celebrant at mass. The pallium is a circular band of white wool, worn on the shoulders, with white wool pendant strips front and rear; marked with 6 dark purple crosses; originally apparently worn by abps. but without connection with Rome; now conferred by the pope as a symbol of office; its equivalent in the E Ch. is called omophorion (from Gk. for “bearing on the shoulders”). The stole is a white or colored neckcloth (see also 2; Epitrachelion; Orarion). The maniple was originally a napkin or handkerchief used by deacons in table ministration; now an ornamental band over the left forearm. The amice was probably originally a head covering; now an oblong cloth worn about the neck and shoulders. The alb is a white linen ankle-length garment with girdle and tight sleeves. The cope, or pluvial (from Lat. for “rain”), a long cloak, open in front except for closure at top, originally used for protection against inclement weather, is worn in nearly all functions in which the chasuble is not used. The girdle,* or cincture, serves as a belt.

2. Following are worn by a priest at mass: (1) amice; (2) alb; (3) girdle; (4) maniple; (5) stole (see also 1), a narrow strip of fabric worn about the neck and with the ends loose or crossed over the breast; (6) chasuble; (7) surplice (from Lat. for “over fur”), or cotta, a kind of alb but shorter, with loose sleeves and worn loose at the waist; designed for use over fur or fur-lined garments in unheated chs. in cold weather; used by clerics, acolytes, lay readers, choristers.

3. The hist. position of M. Luther* and the Luth. Ch. regarding use of vestments is conservative; vestments are to serve worship, not distract the eye or mind. Use of vestments in the Luth. Ch. has varied from time to time and place to place.

Biretta,* cassock (long close-fitting garment, now usually black and worn with clerical collar), Geneva bands (Ger. Beffchen; 2 narrow strips of white cloth pendant from front of collar of clerical dress of some Prots.; based on Ref. practice in Geneva, Switz.). Geneva gown (loose, large-sleeved, black academic gown; adopted by Ref. clergy at Geneva; also used by some other Prots.), and ruff (round, multilayered. lace or lace-edged collar) are not hist. service-oriented.

See also Cuffs; Humeral Veil; Miter; Rochet; Sticharion; Tunicle.


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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