Dalmatic the characteristic dress of the deacon in the administration of the Eucharist, so called from being first woven in Dalmatia, or first used by the Dalmatian clergy (Durandus, Rat. 3, 1). It is a robe reaching down to the knees, and open at each side for a distance varying at different periods. It is not marked at the back with a cross like the chasuble, but in the Latin Church with two narrow stripes, the remains of the angusti clavi worn on the old Roman dress. In the Greek Church it is called colobium, and is covered with a multitude of small crosses. The dalmatic is seen, in some old brasses, worn over the alb and the stole, the fringed extremities of Which reach just below it. It was adopted at a later period by the higher clergy. The chasuble (q.v.) was sometimes worn over the dalmatic. Its symbolical meaning is thus explained by the ritualists: "The deacon's robe of white with purple stripes, with the right sleeve plain and very full, but the left fringed or tasselled, is the image of bountifulness towards the poor. It is the robe given to deacons and sub-deacons, because they were chosen by the apostles to serve the tables; and a deacon should have a dalmatic with broader sleeves than a sub-deacon, because he should have a larger generosity, while a bishop should have one with sleeves much broader and wider than the deacon's, because of the same reason in an ascending ratio. A dalmatic signifies an immaculate life as well as hospitality, and it has two stripes before and behind to show that a bishop should exercise his charity to all, both in prosperity and adversity. The transverse line, which forms a cross behind, is, of course, in allusion to the cross which the great Bishop of our souls bore when on his way to Calvary." — Bingham, Orig. Eccl. bk. 6, ch. 4, § 20; Rock, Hierurgia, 2:647; Hook, Church Dictionary, s.v.; Palmer, Orig. Liturgicae, 2:314.

Bible concordance for DALMATIA.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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