General information on types of Vestments.

Green Vestments ---- White Vestments ---- Red & Purple Vestments ---- Chalices and Ciboria

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.

ALB: The common garment of any ministers at the eucharist, worn over a cassock. Most closely corresponds to the Orthodox sticharion. Symbolizes baptismal garment.

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.

BIRETTA: May be worn by clergy of all ranks except the Pope; its color can signify rank.

CASSOCK: An item of clerical clothing; a long, close-fitting, ankle-length robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and some Reformed churches.

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.

CINCTURE or GIRDLE: This 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.

COPE: A circular cape reaching to the ankle, commonly used by bishops and priests and, sometimes, also by deacons.

DALMATIC: The outermost garment of deacons.

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.

FANON: A double-layered mozzetta, now only occasionally worn by the Pope during solemn Pontifical High Masses.

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.

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.

MITRE: Worn by bishops and some abbots. Despite the having the same name, this does not really correspond with the Eastern mitre, which has a distinct history and which was adopted much later.

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.

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.

PECTORAL CROSS: A large cross worn on a chain or necklace around the neck. 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.

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.

ROCHET: Similar to a surplice but with narrower sleeves. It is often highly decorated with lace. Its use is reserved to bishops and certain canons.

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 is done by priests, whereas bishops always wear it uncrossed, as they possess the fullness of the priesthood. Corresponds to the Orthodox orarion and epitrachelion.

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.

SURPLICE: A white tunic worn over a cassock or habit. It is commonly worn by altar servers, choir members and also by clergy who are attending a eucharist but not as a celebrant.

ZUCCHETTO: A skull cap, similar to the Jewish yarmulke. Commonly worn by bishops (including cardinals and the Pope) and less commonly by other clergy.


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