Vestments

The traditional eucharistic apparel of the Eastern and Western churches are, in origin, the dress worn by the Roman citizen in the first centuries a.d. In the primitive church there was no special ministerial garb for services, but from 400 to 800, while secular fashions changed, the clergy continued to wear in church the dress of earlier centuries. The albe, amice, chasuble, dalmatic, girdle, maniple, stole, and pallium were established liturgical vesture by the ninth century; and as the Middle Ages advanced, additions were made, and various symbolic, fanciful explanations were given to the different eucharistic garments, together with special prayers to be used when vesting. The albe was a development of the tunica alba of the Roman gentleman; the chasuble of the paenula, a cloak covering the body, sewn in front and put over the head; the maniple of the mappula, a handkerchief; and the stole of the orarium, a napkin. All these garments underwent modifications, particularly in size, in order to facilitate movement, and also by the addition of apparels and orphreys.

The 1549 Prayer Book allowed the use of a plain, white albe and a vestment or cope (a choir and processional vestment, dating back to the sixth century), but these were abandoned in the Second Prayer Book. The 1559 Ornaments Rubric may have allowed their use, but not until the nineteenth century was their use revived by the Anglo-Catholics. In the Revised Canons (1969) they are one of the permitted forms of eucharistic vesture, though with no particular doctrinal significance.

See H. Norris, Church Vestments: Their Origin and Development (1949), and C.E. Pocknee, Liturgical Vesture (1960).


VESTMENTS. See Dress; Vesture.

See also

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