Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Liturgical Vestments I

There's a great interview from Ancient Faith Radio about vestments, hosted by Frederica Matthewes-Greene. I found it interesting.

Eastern Rite: Sticherion

This is the basic liturgical vestment, and is basically the sort of garment worn at baptism. It is long and narrow, reaching near the ankles, and it usually fastens about the neck. It's material and appearance depends upon how it is used, or rather, by whom it is used.

Acolytes wear the sticharion as an outer garment. As such it is ornamented to some extent, usually with a cross attached to the back between the shoulders. In my congregation the acolytes' sticharia are a gold brocade with an appliqued cross on the back.


(An example of an acolyte's sticharion.)


Subdeacons and Deacons also wear the sticharion as an outer garment. Again it is ornamented, most likely more so than that of the acolytes, and may be of the color of the day. The sides are made open, but normally are held shut. Traditionally the use of the sticharion in this fashion is called the dalmatikon (i.e. dalmatic).


(An example of a deacon's sticharion, a.k.a. dalmatic. It is very similar to the acolyte's sticharion.)


Priests and Bishops wear the sticharion as a garment under their other vestments. It's made more simply, usually of white or gold (though I've seen other colors to match the outer vestments). Our priest wears one that is white, with an embroidered cross on its back between the shoulder blades, and with a gold band around the bottom.


(Fr. Philip models his sticharion as part of an informative page
at St. Basil the Great Eastern Catholic Church.)



Western Rite: Alb

Literally it means "white thing." It doesn't have the variety of color and design that one finds in the Eastern Rite; it's usually just white, with minimal adornment (though apparels have been added for decoration at times).

Acolytes usually don't wear the alb in my experience. Rather they wear cassock with cotta or surplice.

Subdeacons and Deacons do seem to wear the alb, over which the tunicle or dalmatic is worn. Unlike the Eastern Rite, these have become garments separate from the alb.

Priests and Bishops wear the plain alb beneath their other Eucharistic vestments.

The alb is normally worn with an amice (band of cloth around the neck to protect against sweat) and a cincture (a simple belt to keep things together).

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