Vestments, Clerical are those official garments which are worn by the clergy in divine service. The following list comprises all the vestments in common use, and many that have been used occasionally in different ages and places:
1. The alb is a long linen garment with tight sleeves, and is confined at the waist by a girdle.
2. The almuce, or almutiutm, was a hood of fur worn anciently while reciting the offices by canons, and afterwards by other distinguished ecclesiastics, as a protection against cold.
3. The amice, or amictus, was an oblong piece of fine linen with strings, worn by all clergy above the minor orders over the cassock; and was placed first on the head, then being adjusted round the neck formed the collar.
4. Bands, two falling pieces of lawn, edged with a hem of the same material, worn in front of the neck.
5. The biretta, or biretum, is a cap worn by Western ecclesiastics of all grades.
6. The cassock, or pellicia (pellis, fur, the lining of the garment anciently), is a garment which fits the body closely, but is loose and flowing below.
7. The chasuble was a circular or elliptical piece of cloth with a hole in the center to admit the head, and when worn completely covered the body.
8. The chimera, or chimere, is a short sleeveless cloak worn over the rochet as the ordinary dress of prelates.
9. The cincture is a flat band, usually about three yards long and four inches wide, used to confine the cassock around the waist.
10. The colobium was like the tunic, except that it was without sleeves.
11. The cope is an exact semicircle, like a cloak, attached to which is a hood, now used merely for ornament.
12. The cotta is a short surplice either with or without sleeves.
13. The cowl is a monastic head-dress in the form of a capacious hood attached to the back of the neck of the ordinary dress.
14. The dalmatica is a long robe with sleeves, open up the sides about two feet, and was for many centuries regarded as the peculiar garment for deacons at the Christian sacrifice.
15. The girdle, or cingulum, is a cord of linen, silk, or other material, with tassels at the extremities, by which the alb is bound about the waist. It is fastened on the left side.
16. The gozon is a lone loose upper garment.
17. The hood was a monastic covering for the head.
18. The maniple was anciently a mere strip of very fine linen attached to the left arm of the priest with which to wipe the chalice previous to the first oblation, but afterwards it came to be all ornament of great richness worn by the priest and his assistants at the Eucharist.
19. The miter was a hierarchical head-covering originating with the Jews, and worn by Christians of certain sects from very early ages. It was of various shapes.
20. The pallium was an ancient ecclesiastical vestment made of white lamb's-wool, signifying metropolitical jurisdiction.
21. The rochet is a frock of fine lawn with tight sleeves.
22. The scapular, or scapulary, consisted of two bands of woolen stuff, one hanging down the breast and the other down the back.
23. The scarf is a band of silk about a foot wide and ten feet long, various sorts of which are in common use in the Church of England.
24. The stole, or orarium, is a narrow band of silk or other material, fringed at the ends, and sometimes adorned with jewels, worn on the left shoulder of deacons, and round the neck of priests and bishops, pendent on each side nearly to the ground.
25. The surplice is a loose flowing vestment of linen, reaching almost to the feet, having sleeves broad and full.
26. The tiara is the triple crown of the pope.
27. The tippet is a narrow garment or covering for the neck and shoulders.
28. The tunic and tunicle are only different names for the dalmatica.
Besides the above-named vestments, the following ornaments and appendages deserve mention, as belonging to the complete outfit of the officiating ecclesiastic on certain occasions:
1. The crosier was a badge of dignity or authority in the form of a shepherd's crook, curved at the upper end and pointed beneath.
2. The pastoral staff is the same as the crosier.
3. The pectoral is a square plate of gold or silver, either jeweled or enameled, sometimes worn by English and other bishops on the breast, over the chasuble, at mass.
4. The pectoral cross is a cross suspended from the neck by a golden chain, worn by Roman Catholic bishops and others, indicating jurisdiction.
5. The ring was generally adopted about the 4th century by bishops, although sometimes used before that time. It was first worn on the middle finger of the right hand, but afterwards was placed on the fourth finger.
The foregoing objects are treated more fully under their appropriate titles in other parts of this work. Illustrations of many of them will be found under the article ORNAMENTS.
Vestments are worn in the ritualistic churches, such as the Roman Catholic, the Greek, the Episcopal of England and America, and others. They belong to bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, servers, and, in the Church of England, to choristers in the English cathedrals, and in many of the parish churches, the singers, men and boys, are vested in cassock and surplice, and sit in a part of the church called the choir, between the presbytery and the nave. The eucharistic vestments are the amice, the alb, the maniple, the eucharistic stole, and the chasuble. The deacon wears over his alb a dalmatica, and the subdeacon a tunicle, but no chasuble, which is reserved exclusively to the celebrant. The deacon wears his stole over the left shoulder, with the ends brought together and fastened under the right arm. The stole is not worn by the subdeacon. In the Western churches acolytes at high mass wear albs and amices; at low mass when there are neither ministers nor choir, but only a single priest with a server, the server wears a cotta or rochet over a crimson cassock. In the Greek Church the priest is always attended by a deacon vested in alb and dalmatica. When a bishop is the celebrant, he wears a dalmatica in addition to the priestly vestments, to signify that all the offices of the ministry are united in his person.
In the Roman churches the color of the cassock is for choristers, servers, or acolytes, crimson; for the principal acolyte sometimes purple. Subdeacons, deacons. and priests wear black, bishops purple, and cardinals crimson. The pope alone wears white. The surplice, cotta, rochet, alb, and amice are properly made of white linen, though in the Western churches all except the amice are sometimes made of lace. The maniple, stole, tunicle, dalmatica, and chasuble vary in their colors, following the sequence of the seasons. The Roman sequence, which is now generally followed by the Western churches, gives white for Christmas, Easter, and saints days; purple for Advent and Lent; red for Pentecost and feasts of martyrs; black for Good-Friday, and green for ordinary days. The color for ferias, or week-days, usually follows that of the preceding Sunday. The English or Salisbury sequence differs from the Roman in employing more colors, and in the order in which they are used. Brown or gray is allowed instead of purple, blue instead of green, and yellow instead of white on the feasts of confessors. According to this sequence, all Sundays at the festal seasons are white, and all other Sundays are red. White Sundays are followed by white ferias; but at seasons of Advent and Lent the ferias are purple; and at the seasons of Epiphany, after the octave, and Trinity, they are blue or green. The Eastern calendars are numerous and complicated, and they do not appear to recognize any uniform sequence of colors.
The origin of the vestments may be attributed to various sources. The linen ones, doubtless, were adopted by the early Christians from the Jews; while the others were adopted from garments worn in daily life, either as the ordinary dress, or as the vestments of kings and noblemen. In the early ages emperors and kings were allowed to wear the chasuble, and afterwards the tunicle and dalmatica, at their coronations and when assisting at high-mass. It is thought by Mr. Marriott (Festiariuns Christianum) that most of the vestments now in use were introduced into the Church during the period between the 9th and 12th centuries. The vestments used in the Greek Church are the same as those enumerated; but are known by the corresponding Greek names. The alb is called a chitonion; the maniple, an epimanika; the stole, an orarion; the chasuble, a phelonion; the dalmatica, a stoicharion; the pallium, an omophorion.
The natural effect of the religious changes of the 16th century was to put aside the costume at the same time and on the same grounds as the existing ceremonies. This was done by the different churches of the Reformation in various degrees. The Calvinistic worship dispensed with vestments altogether. The Lutherans generally retained with the cassock the alb and in some countries the chasuble. In the English Church a variety of practice has existed. The disputes about the surplice were very bitter. The Puritans objected to its use on the ground of its being a relic of popery. As to the rest of the costume, the first Prayer-book retained the Roman vestments with little change; and, since the rubric of this Prayer-book has not been formally repealed, a ritualistic movement in the English Church has reintroduced, in some places, almost every detail of the Roman costume in the communion and other services-an innovation which has given rise to vigorous resistance in many instances, and some very bitter controversies.
See Marriott, Vestiarium Christianunm; Rock, Hierurgia; Neale, Holy Eastern Church; Blunt, Annotated Book of Common Prayer; also the monographs cited by Volbeding, Index Programmatum, p. 171.