Pall is the name given in English to, different portions of ecclesiastical vesture, employed by the Romish and other churches.
1. It is applied (Lat. pallium; Gr. Ειλητον) to a part of the ponifical dress worn only by the pope, archbishops, and patriarchs, and is a scarf of honor symbolic of "the plenitude of the pontifical office." It is a white woollen band of about three fingers' breadth, made round, and worn over the shoulders, crossed in frown with one end hanging down over the breast; the other behind it is ornamented with purple crosses, and fastened by three golden needles or pins, the number signifying charity, or the nails of the cross. It is made of the wool of perfectly white sheep, which are yearly, on the festival of St. Agnes, offered and blessed at the celebration of the holy eucharist, in the church dedicated ,to her in the Nomentan Way in Rome. The sheep are received by two canons of the church of St. John Lateran, who deliver them into the charge of the subdeacons of the apostolic college, and by them they are kept and fed until the time for sheep-shearing arrives. The palliums are always. made of this wool, and when completed .they are brought to the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and are placed upon the altar over those saints' tomb on the eve of their festival, and are left there the whole night, and on the following day are delivered to the subdeacons whose office it is to take charge of them. The pope alone always wears the pallium, wherever he officiates, to signify his assumed authority over all other particular churches.
Archbishops and patriarchs receive the pall from the pope, and cannot wear it except on certain occasions, such as councils, ordinations, and on great festivals in;the celebration of the mass. The Council of Macon (A. D. 581) forbade archbishops saying mass without the pall. An archbishop in the Romish Church, although he be consecrated as bishop, and have taken possession, cannot before he has petitioned for, and received and paid for the pallium, either call himself archbishop or perform such acts as belong to the "greater jurisdiction" — those, namely, which he exercises not as a bishop, but as archbishop, such as to summon a council or to visit his province, etc. He can, however, when his election has been confirmed, and before he receives the pallium, depute his functions, in the matter of ordaining bishops, to his suffragans, who may lawfully exercise them by-his command. If, however, any archbishop in the Romish Church, before he receives the pallium, perform those offices which result immediately from the possession of it, such as, for instance, those relating to orders and to the chrism, etc., the acts themselves are valid, but the archbishop offends against the canons and laws of the Church.
The pall was part of the imperial habit, and was originally granted by the emperors to the patriarchs. Thus Constantine gave the use of the pall to the bishop of Rome, probably Linus or Sylvester; and Anthimus, patriarch of Constantinople, when expelled from his see, is said to have returned the pall to the emperor Justinian. In 336 it was for the first time given to a bishop of thesee of Ostia, who was then officiating at the consecration of the pope, because the pontiff was not a bishop at the time of his election. The bishopric of Arles had the pall from a very early period. The bishopric of Autun was given it about A. D. 600. Isidore of Seville says that it was once common to all bishops, but in time it certainly was given to bishops only as an exceptional honor, as when St. Boniface received it from pope Gregory II, the bishop of Bamberg in 1046, and the bishop of Lucca from Alexander II in 1057. Pelagius or Damasus required all metropolitans to fetch theor pall within three months after consecration; pope Gregory I forbade the reception of money by any official at its delivery, but the journey and fees in time became a sore tax, which cost the archbishop of Mayence 30.000 gold pieces. Pope Gregory sent a pall to St. Augustine of Canterbury, and in 734 Egbright of York, after great difficulty, procured the same distinction, which had been withheld since 644. In 1472 the archbishops of St. Andrew's became independent of York and metropolitans of Scotland in right of the pall. Four palls were given for the first time at the Council of Kells, 1152, to the Irish archbishops by the papal legate, this being their earliest acknowledgment of the pope's supremacy. When the see of Rome had carried its authority to the highest pitch, under Innocent II, that pontiff decreed the pall to be a mark of such distinction as is attached to it to this day. Neither the functions or title of archbishop, as we have seen above, can be assumed without it; and in order to make it a source of profit to the papal exchequer, every archbishop is buried in his pall, so that his successor may be obliged to apply to the pope for another and pay for the privilege.
The pall represents the lamb borne on the Good Shepherd's shoulders, and also humility, zeal, a chain of honor, and pastoral vigilance. Its other names were anaphorion, supernumerale, and in Theodoret and St. Gregory Nazianzen-ἱερὰ στολή. Before the 8th century it was ornamented with two or four red or purple, but now with six black crosses, fastened with gold pins which superseded an earlier ornament, the Good Shepherd, or one cross, of the 4th century. It has been supposed to be the last relic of an abbreviated toga, reduced to its laticlave by degrees. In the time of Gregory the Great it was made of white linen cloth without seam or needlework, hanging down from the shoulders. It has pendants hanging down behind and before to represent the double burden of the pope.
2. Pall (Gr. ἐνδυτόν, τραπεζοφόρον, ἃπλωμα) is also the name of the cloth hanging in front of an altar; the modern antependium, like the blue cloth of the golden altar (Nu 4:11). In 1630, at Worcester cathedral, the upper and lower fronts, and the pall or middle covering, are mentioned. There is one with the acts of saints of the 15th century at Steeple Aston, Oxford; besides wall hangings, according to Rupert, betokening the future glory of the Church triumphant.
3. In a strictly liturgical sense the word pall is applied to the linen cloth covering the table or slab of the altar used in the celebration of the mass. It was ordered by the councils of Lateran and Rheims, and by pope Boniface III. In the Greek Church, on the four corners of the holy table are fixed four pieces of cloth called the Evangelists, because stamped with their effigies, symbolizing the Church, which calls the faithful to Christ from every quarter of the world. Over these are laid the linen cloth, called the body cloth, representing the winding-sheet of the Lord in the tomb (Joh 20:7); a second of finer material, symbolizing the glory of the Son of God seated on the altar as his throne; and a third the corporal proper.
The use of three cloths in the Latin Church is. said to have existed in the time of Pius I. St. Optatus of Milevi mentions an altar cloth. In the 6th century silk and precious stuffs were used, as St. Gregory of Tours informs us. Constantine gave a pall of cloth of gold to St. Peter's; and Zachary presented one wrought with the Nativity and studded with pearls. The modern Roman pall is a square piece of linen cloth — sometimes limber, sometimes made stiff by inserting pasteboard sufficiently large to cover the mouth of the chalice. The upper service is often of silk embroidered, or of cloth of gold. The surface in contact with the chalice must always be of linen. A fair white linen cloth and a carpet of silk or decent stuff are required in the English Church. The form is the ancient pall, and should be fair, that is damasked or ornamented, and so beautiful (Isa 4:2; Eze 16:17); it is white (Re 15:6; Re 19:14), like Christ's raiment, exceeding white as snow (Mr 9:3). It ought to hang, slightly over the front of the altar, but at the end nearly to the ground (Walcott, Sacred Archaeology s.v.).
4. Besides all these there is the funeral pall, an ample covering, of black velvet or other stuff, which is cast over the coffin while borne to burial. The ends of the pall are held during. the funeral procession by the most distinguished among the friends of the deceased, generally selected from among those not connected by blood. See Siegel, Christl. Alterthumer, iii, 48 sq.; Bingham, Orig. Eccles.; Walcott, Sacred Archceol. s.v.; Riddle, Christian Antiquities. (see Index); Hefele, Conciliengesch. vol. i, iii, and iv; Elliott, Delineation of Romanism (see Index).