Clothing of clergymen

Clothes for religious services are sewn from brocade or other material suitable for these purposes. Church clothes are decorated with crosses.

The clothing belonging to a deacon includes the following items: Surplice, handcuffs , and orar.

Surplice, which can also be worn by subdeacons, is an oblong cape with a hole for the head and wide sleeves. In some cases, psalmists and even laymen who serve in the church can be awarded the right to wear a surplice. Surplice should mark the purity of the soul, characteristic of persons of sacred rank. Narrow cuffs are called handcuffs. They are tied with laces and remind the clergy that the rites of Christ’s faith are performed by the grace and power of God, and by no means by one’s own strength. At the same time, those nearby should remind of the shackles and ropes that were on the hands of the suffering Savior.

Orar is a ribbon, wide and long. It is made from the same material as the surplice . The deacon puts on the orar on top of the stichar, on the left shoulder. It is believed that the ribbon should mark God’s grace, which the deacon receives in the sacrament of priesthood.

The vestment of a priest consists of the following items:undersacristy, robe (phelon), epitrachilus, handrails and belt.

Undersacristy, in fact, is a modified surplice . The main difference between a priest and a priest is as follows. The sleeves of the undercoat are longer than those of the stykha, besides, there are laces at their ends, with the help of which the sleeves can be tightly tightened on the forearm. It is customary to use a thin white fabric for the manufacture of a chasuble. Linen constantly reminds the priest that his soul must be absolutely pure, and his way of life must be exemplary and irreproachable. It is customary to liken the chasuble to the chiton, the undergarment in which the Lord Jesus Christ did the work of our salvation.

The analogies continue. An epitrachilus is an orar folded in half. In front, it hangs from the neck with two ends. For convenience, these ends are stitched or otherwise connected together. Epitrachilus is used to mark a special grace, double in relation to the church clothes of the deacon, which gives to perform the sacraments of the clothes of the priest. A priest cannot perform a service without an epitrachilus, just as a deacon can do it without an orar.

A belt should be worn on top of the epitrachilus and the undersacristy. This detail of clothing symbolizes the divine power that strengthens priests in their ministry. At the same time, it should also remind of the towel with which the Savior girded himself while washing the feet of His disciples during the Last Supper.

The robe (otherwise called “felon”) is placed on top of the named clothes. It is wide, long, there are no sleeves, they are replaced by a spacious cutout in the front part, which allows free hands to do the necessary actions. From above there is a hole for the head. The robe symbolizes the purple cloth worn on the Savior. Our longitudinal ribbons remind us of the streams of blood that flowed through His clothes. At the same time, the robe is a symbol of the garment of truth worn on priests as ministers of Christ.

The pectoral cross is an important part of the priest’s outfit

For long and zealous service, a priest can be awarded the right to wear a loincloth. It is a decorated piece of cloth of a quadrangular shape, which hangs on the right thigh over the shoulder at two corners. The loincloth is a symbol of the spiritual sword. Awards such as headdresses are also possible. They are called Kamilavka and Skufya.

The clothing of a bishop, hierarch, is basically similar to the clothes of a priest. It includes the same items: a undersacristy, a handrail, an epitrachilus, and a girdle. This is where the similarity ends, because the robe is replaced by a sakkos, a staff is worn instead of a loincloth. In addition to the above, the bishop should wear a miter and omophorus.

Sakkos is a type of outer clothing included in the bishop’s ecclesiastical clothing. Outwardly, the sakkos resembles a deacon’s stichar, only shortened in length at the bottom and in the sleeves. It is shortened in such a way that the undersacristy and epitrachilus are visible from under it. Sakkos performs the same functions as a priest’s robe. It should symbolize the Saviour’s purple.

The decorated quadrangular piece of material on the bishop’s right thigh is called a staff. It is hung by its corner on top of the sakkos. The most deserving archpriests can receive the right to wear it as a special reward for diligence in service. In this case, the stick is on the right thigh, and the hip is moved to the other thigh, to the left. The stick is an indispensable part of the clothing of both archimandrites and bishops. The symbolic meaning of the stick is similar to the symbolic meaning of the thigh – it is the word of God. In other words, the staff is a spiritual sword that equips the clergy who fight against wickedness and unbelief.

An omophorion is ceremoniously placed on the bishop’s shoulders. It covers the sakkos, having the form of a very wide and long ribbon. The omophor should cover the bishop’s neck all around. About one end of the tape falls behind, the other – in front. From the Greek language, the word “omophor” is translated as “shoulder bag”. This is the exclusive and mandatory affiliation of bishops. It has the same meaning as the priest’s epitrachilus. A bishop cannot serve without an omophor. As a good evangelical shepherd who carries home a lost sheep on his arms and shoulders, the bishop should unceasingly care for the salvation of those who is wrong.

The round image of the Mother of God or the Savior, which is on the bishop’s chest, is called a panagia. This word can be translated as “All of the Holy”. Panagia is usually decorated with colored stones. This image is worn together with the cross over the sakkos.

The headdress of bishops and archimandrites is called a miter. This element of church clothing, which reminds us all of the crown of thorns placed on the suffering Savior, is usually decorated with colored stones and small icons. In special, exceptional cases, honored archpriests may receive the right to wear a miter instead of a kamilavka. Such permission can be granted to them by the ruling bishop.

The sign of the pastor’s supreme authority is a stick, a rod that bishops use for Divine Service. Ecclesiastes who head monasteries – abbots or archimandrites – also have the right to use a stick.

At the bishop’s feet during the Divine Service, it is customary to place eagles – small round rugs. They depict an eagle flying over the city. This reminds the bishop that he must ascend to the heavenly from the earthly, likening to an eagle in flight.

At home, deacons, priests and bishops can dress more freely. It is customary to wear a petticoat and a cassock. Clergymen are supposed to wear a rood on their chest, to which the bishop adds a panagia.

Useful Information

05/08/2022
In the Christian New Testament Church, there are three degrees of priesthood established by the holy apostles. The main position is occupied by bishops, followed...
09/07/2022