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It's All About Traditional Vestments

By Diane Harris
There are pictures, scriptures, products that serve as a proof that vestments existed even before. These things have been a part of the spiritual practices of different churches. They traveled from the oldest generation to the newest generation. The clergies and the church ministries have been using these traditional vestments in serving the house of God for a long time. Even there are some innovations due to the technological evolution; the concept is still the same.

What are these traditional vestments that have been used by many Christian denominations?

It would be best answered by starting on the usual vestments used by most of the churches. First one is the pectoral cross. Different Christian churches like Roman Catholic, Anglicans, and Lutherans have actually been using this since before. A pectoral cross is a large cross on a chain of necklace. For instance, in Roman Catholic Church, pectoral cross is just worn among abbots, bishops, and some canons who were allowed by special indult. For cardinals, they use a gold cross with a red rope while the choirs used the green rope and for house use, it is a silver cross holding on a silver necklace or chain.

Next traditional vestments are cassocks. It is a long robe that reaches the ankles. It is usually worn by the clerics of various Christian churches like Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran. It is generally close fitting in Western Christian, whereas it is rather loose on Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Historically, it originated from the Ancient Rome’s tunic that was worn beneath the toga. Cassock is also called a soutane in many English-speaking nations and in Ireland. Cassocks are of little used today; however, they are significantly used in religious services. Till the second half of the century, it became an everyday wardrobe amongst clergies.

Another example of it is vestments stoles. Stole was believed to derive from the orarium, a liturgical napkin which is extremely just like the sudarium. The orarium was used to wash the feet of Christ’s disciples, where it implies the yoke of service during the era of Christ. Its beginning can also be traced on the scar being used by the Imperial officials of the Roman Empire. The stole’s usage is likely to reveal the belongingness of the person to a company, as well as, showing that person’s rank in the group. However, unlike before, when these stoles are worn by most of individuals or even laypersons, stole today is just used based upon the line of work of particular courses of people.

For the headgear, mitre and zucchetto are best examples for vestments. Mitre is the traditional headgear of bishops and abbots of Roman Catholic, some Lutheran, and Anglican churches. It is a sharp cap with lappets on its 2 sides. Sometimes, mitres have actually ornaments made from beads and rhinestones. Zucchetto is a hemispheric, little, and form-fitting skull-type of cap that is typically worn by the Pope, cardinals, and bishops. It started to exist as the Greek pilos. Its form resembles the yarmulke of Jews however they differ on it importance.

Even traditional vestments are old currently; they still have the whole meaning like before.

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