vestment n : gown (especially ceremonial garments) worn by the clergy
Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religions, especially the Latin Rite and other Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutheran Churches. Many other groups also make use of vestments, but this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since - notably during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.
For other garments worn by clergy, see also Clerical clothing.
Rubrics for vestingThe 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 medium 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 clergyman will 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 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. commons Catholic Choir dress
Used by Latin Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Protestants; Stole : A 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. Corresponds to the Orthodox orarion and epitrachelion (see below).
Used by Latin Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists; Dalmatic : The outermost garment of deacons.; Cincture : or Girdle. Corresponds to the Orthodox zone.
Used by Latin Catholics, Anglicans, and some Lutherans; Cope : A circular cape reaching to the ankle, used by bishops, priests and deacons.; Zucchetto : Skull cap, similar to the Jewish yarmulke.; Pectoral cross : The cross or crucifix worn by bishops. It is held by a chain (or cord in choir dress) around the neck and rests on the chest.
Used by Latin Catholics and some Anglicans; 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.
Used only by Latin Catholics; Rationale : An episcopal humeral worn over the chasuble. It is only used by the Bishops of Eichstätt, Paderborn, Toul, and Kraków. Until the 17th century, it was also in use in the Bishopric of Regensburg (Ratisbon). http://kreuzgang.org/pdf/klaus-gamber.superhumerale.pdf; 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.; Papal tiara : Formerly worn by the Pope at his coronation and at key secular moments; it has fallen out of use but may be revived at any time if the reigning Pontiff wishes. This is strictly speaking not a vestment but an item of regalia since it was never worn within liturgical services with the exception of the blessing Urbi et Orbi.; Falda : A vestment that forms a long skirt extending from under the hem of the alb; it is so long that train-bearers need to carry it; 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.; Apron : A short cassock reaching just above the knee, worn by archdeacons (for whom it is black) and bishops (for whom it is purple). Now largely obsolete.; Canterbury cap : a soft, square-shaped hat.
Used only by Protestants
Eastern Church vestments
In the Orthodox Church, any member of the clergy, of whatever rank, will be vested when serving his particular function during the Divine Liturgy or other service. Eastern Catholics use identical vestments as their Orthodox counterparts. As in the Latin-rite Catholic 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. http://www.anastasis.org.uk/Proskom02+notes+diag.pdf''
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.
Mormon VestmentsIn the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, temple robes are worn at certain times during the worship services. The temple robes consist of a white robe, a cap or a veil, a girdle (sash) worn around the waist, white slippers, and an apron emblematic of the fig leaf described in the Old Testament as the first clothing worn by Adam and Eve. While not strictly a vestment, some Mormons also wear temple garments, which are worn under a practicing Mormon's street clothes and are similar to the Jewish tallit katan.
vestment in German: Liturgisches Gewand
vestment in Modern Greek (1453-): Άμφια
vestment in French: Paramentique
vestment in Korean: 예복
vestment in Indonesian: Vestimentum
vestment in Italian: Paramento liturgico
vestment in Luxembourgish: Liturgescht Gewand
vestment in Dutch: Parament
vestment in Norwegian: Liturgiske klær
vestment in Serbian: Одежда
vestment in Polish: Parament
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