Orarium in some of the ancient churches, a scarf or tippet worn by deacons on their left shoulder, and by bishops and presbyters on both shoulders, the use of which was for giving signals for prayers by the bishops and presbyters to the deacons, and by the deacons to the congregation; hence its name. Ambrose, Augustine, and other writers, speak of the orarium only as a handkerchief to wipe the face with; but from the records of the ecclesiastical councils of Braga (A.D. 563) and Toledo it is made clear that it was a distinguishing badge of the clergy, the former ordaining that priests should wear the orarium on both shoulders when they ministered at the altar, and the latter that the deacons were to wear but one orarium, and that on the left shoulder, wherewith they were to give the signal of prayers to the people. Subdeacons, and all other unordained officials, were, by proscription of the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 366), not privileged to wear this clerical appendage. In modern times the priests of the Western churches wear it scarf or sash wise from the shoulder to the right side; those of the Greek Church wear it hanging behind and before. See Eadie, Ecclesiastes Cyclop. s.v.; Martigny, Dictionnaire des Antiquites Chretiennes, s.v.; Walcott, Sacred Archaeology, s.v. SEE STOLE.

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