Dress, Christian

Dress, Christian In the primitive days Christians probably took little thought for raiment. They generally wore the ordinary dress of their station and country. A strong feeling was prevalent against luxury, display, and immodesty in apparel. Nevertheless, even in the 1st century, "gay clothing" was found in Christian assemblies. Tertullian likens those who adorn themselves with costly articles to the woman "arrayed in purple and scarlet color" spoken of in the Apocalypse. The pope also, in several councils, declared against extravagant dressing. Pope Zacharias decreed (A.D. 743) that bishops, priests, and deacons should not use secular dress, but only the sacerdotal tunic; and that when they walked out, whether in city or country unless on a long journey — they should wear some kind of upper garment or wrapper. The second Council of Nice, in the year 787, condemns bishops and clerics who distinguish themselves by the richness and brilliant colors of their dress. So Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople, bade his clergy abstain from golden girdles, and from garments bright with silk and purple, prescribing girdles of goats' hair, and tunics decent but not gorgeous. The Council of Aix (A.D. 816) inveighs against personal ornament and splendor of dress in the clergy, and exhorts them to be neither splendid nor slovenly.

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