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church documents b-039.


MOST of us are so accustomed to seeing vest-
VESTMENTS ments used in the Services of the Church that we

AS ORDERED probably do not realize that they did not exist when
the Lord first gathered congregations under Apostles
BY APOSTLES in these days, but were introduced gradually, in the
wisdom of the Apostles, as the work went on, and the
BY form and order of worship were successively brought
R. M. HEATH (UD) out.
Probably the introduction of vestments was one
of the severest crises of the faith of those first gath-
ered. It must be remembered that many of them came
church documents

from the Scotch Church, where all forms of vestments

were abhorred; or from the Protestant and Non-
conformist bodies who objected to them almost as
much; or else from the Church of England, where
practically the only vestment in use at that time was
a surplice, worn in most cases without a cassock; and
where any attempt to use either vestments or orna-
ments in the Services was regarded as a beginning
englische version

which could only end in complete departure to Rome.


Der vorliegende Text ist eine wörtliche Abschrift des Originals
unter gegebenenfalls orthographischer Anpassung
church documents b-039.doc church documents b-039.doc

As the congregations grew in spiritual strength Ministry: Angel, Priest and Deacon; each of which
and faith, and as the Apostles received more and represents the Lord Jesus Christ and His work to
more light through the prophetic ministry, it became usward in particular aspects; and that there are four
clear that vestments were a necessity to the proper borders of Ministry, set forth in the Cherubim: Apos-
and orderly fulfilment of the worship of God. If one tles or Elders, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastors; and
may not appear at the Court of an earthly king, that each of these borders is associated with a special
unless correctly attired in the prescribed dress, how colour. The Apostle is associated with Purple, or Gold
much less may we wait upon the King of Kings in His - the colour of Rule; the Prophet with Blue, the colour
Courts, save in appropriate vestments? of the Heavens; the Evangelist with Red, the colour of
Blood; and the Pastor with White, denoting Simplicity
Under the Mosaic law, the ceremonial clothing of and Purity.
the priests was prescribed down to the minutest de-
tail of their under-garments: surely then, it is plain The first, a literally foundation vestment, is the
that in the higher worship of the Church, proper and Cassock. It is worn by all ministers, and also by those
symbolic vesture is called for. The vestments ap- in subordinate offices. The primary object is to cover
proved by Apostles are ten in number: the Cassock; the wearer completely, reminding us that all men are
the Dalmatic; the Cope; the Rochet; the Chasuble; the alike before God, with Whom there is no respect of
Stole; the Mosette; the Surplice; the Alb, and the Gir- persons; and thus it obliterates any distinction which
dle. And all have their proper use and significance. the poverty or richness of work-a-day clothes might
Most of them are in use in all parts of the Catholic display. The colour further suggests a death unto sin,
Church, and where they are absent there is to be whilst the various white vestments worn over it, turn
found a lack of those spiritual realities whose pres- the mind to resurrection and a new birth unto right-
ence is symbolized, accented, and set forth by the eousness.
vestments where they are used.
To indicate their position of rule and authority,
Before proceeding to consider the vestments in Angels, when sitting as such, wear cassocks of pur-
detail, I would like to remind you that, as the Cate- ple. It is interesting to note that in the Apostles'
chism tells us, there are three principal orders in the Chapel at Albury, all ministers, of whatever degree,

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including the Apostles, wore black cassocks; because ments, to show that they are acting as Deacons, or
there they appear merely as Ministers of the Universal Assistants, subordinate to the Celebrant. In some
Church, of which the Apostles are the Elders and the parts of the Church, the Epistler and Gospeller are
Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Angel. known as the Deacon and Sub-Deacon.

The border of the minister is indicated by a lining Now we come to the Stole, which can only be
and edging to the cassock and mosette of his appro- worn by those who are ordained to the Ministry, i.e.
priate colour: Purple for Elders, Blue for Prophets, Priests and Deacons. The Stole represents the yoke of
Red for Evangelists, and White for Pastors; whether Christ laid upon His servants. The Priest wears it
Angels, Priests or Deacons. Apostles and their Coad- upon both shoulders, and crossed upon the breast.
jutors were the only ministers to wear a yellow bor- The Deacon, who is a layman, wears it upon his left
der; and Angels of churches, in their own churches, shoulder only, leaving his right arm free, as it were,
wear purple, as indicating their supreme (local) au- for his work in the world. Angels wear the stole un-
thority. crossed, to indicate the greater freedom of their more
authoritative position.
The next familiar vestment is the Dalmatic,
sometimes known in other parts of the Church as a All Stoles, of whatever colour, are lined with Red,
Tunicle, or Cotta. It is a loose linen garment with wide to indicate the underlying and foundation truth that
sleeves, and was originally the costume of slaves. It all worship to God is possible only by the Blood of the
is, therefore, most appropriate for those performing Lamb. This principle of a scarlet lining is applied to
the lesser ministerial functions, as representing Him all vestments to which a lining is appropriate; e.g. the
who took upon Himself the form of a servant. Chasuble and the Dalmatics of the assistants at the
Holy Eucharist.
It has always been pre-eminently the Diaconal
vestment, and, as such, is worn, though in a more Stoles vary in colour. At the Holy Eucharist, like
ornamental form, by the two assistants at the Eucha- all the vestments, all Stoles are White. At all other
rist, viz.., the assistants to the Celebrant. If they are Services, Deacons wear Red Stoles, and Priests the
Priests, the assistants wear it over their other vest- colour of their border. The Angel wore a Purple Stole

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in the morning, as presiding minister, and a yellow was worn by all Priests at the Full Services of Morning
stole in the evening, when he stood with the Elders in and Evening Prayer, at which the Intercession was of-
the central shaft of the Candlestick Ministry. fered - as you know - before the Sacrament which was
"proposed", or spread out upon the Altar; and also in
In the Shorter Services, to which we are now re- the Special Services on Good Friday, when the origi-
duced, Elders wear a Purple Stole, as does the Senior nal Sacrifice of Christ is being specially commemo-
Priest in the absence of the Angel. The other ministers rated.
wear White stoles. At Festivals, all stoles are White, as
is the Angel's Cope. The Rochet - the short white garment worn by
Angels and Priests attending at the Eucharist, but not
It may be well, perhaps, to deal with the Alb next. actively engaged - is really a short form of the Alb.
As its name implies, it is the long White garment worn The Rochet was also worn by attending ministers at
by the Celebrant, and all Priests, directly concerned the Full Services of Morning and Evening Prayer, and
in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the Ad- it is worn in the Shorter Services on Sundays. It is
ministration of the Sacrament. It is of very ancient also worn by Angels and Priests for preaching and
origin, and it is the garment of sacrifice; hence its use teaching. Angels' Rochets, as befits their higher de-
in the celebration of the Church's great memorial sac- gree, are made of lawn and lace; those of the Priests
rifice of the Eucharist. It is worn with the Linen Girdle being of linen. The Rochet is worn under the Mo-
at the waist, under which the Stole is passed; sym- sette, which is a small cape: really a miniature of the
bolic of the righteousness of Christ. "Gird me, 0 Lord, Cope, to which reference is made later.
with righteousness, and let faithfulness be the girdle
of my loins" is one of the prayers said in the vestry The Mosette is of the same colour and material as
when the Priests are vesting before the Holy Eucha- the cassock of the wearer, and is similarly lined with
rist. the colour of the border of ministry.

The Alb, being the garment of sacrifice, its use is The surplice, with which the Shorter Services of
appropriate in all Services dependent upon, or refer- Morning and Evening Prayer have made us familiar,
ring specially, to the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Hence it is also a derivative of the Alb. Its name comes from

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the Latin, "super pellicum,"(literally, "above the robe by a clamp of metal, called a Morse, which held the
of wool"), and it was originally a choir vestment of the two sides together, and reminds us of the Breastplate
monastic order and cathedral clergy, serving the same of the High Priest.
purpose as the Rochet, for which it is an alternative.
We now come to the Chasuble, the garment worn
The Cope is pre-eminently the garment of rule over all the other vestments by a Priest or an Angel, in
and authority; hence the normal colour is purple, the the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This was origi-
colour of rule, and it is worn, as a rule, only by a pre- nally known as "The Vestment", and was formerly a
siding minister. Under Apostles, it is worn by those in completely circular garment, with a hole in the centre
Angels' orders, but in some parts of the Church it is for the head of the wearer. It entirely enwrapped him
also worn by Priests on certain occasions. It points from head to foot, and symbolised the all-embracing
symbolically to the kingly authority of the Lord Jesus righteousness of Christ, under the cover of which
Christ. Round the edge of the Cope is a wide orna- alone man dared to approach the Altar to celebrate
mental border: the Orphrey. In this it is customary to the Holy Eucharist. Its name comes from "casula" - a
make prominent the colour of the wearer's border of little tent - which is a clear indication of the original
ministry. This may be noted particularly in the Copes form.
preserved at the Central Church, Gordon Square,
formerly worn by the Apostle for the Tribe, and the The Chasuble, like all Eucharistic vestments, is
Minister associated with him, at visitations and on always white. It is ornamented with gold, and lined
other special occasions, each Cope having one of the with crimson; except on Good Friday when it, and the
four colours very clearly shown in the embroidery of Dalmatics of the assistant priests, together with all
the Orphrey. Stoles, are black or purple, in token of mourning.
These dark vestments are continued in use on Holy
The Cope of the Angel of a Church is normally Saturday, and may also be worn at the Commemora-
purple, but on Festivals it is white, and on Good Fri- tion of a deceased person.
day it, or the Orphrey, may be black. Apostles and
their ministers wore Copes of Crimson and Gold, as There is one other article which should perhaps
already mentioned. The Cope is fastened at the breast be mentioned, which is not really a vestment, though

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it has come to be so regarded in the greater part of

the Church: the Maniple.

This, under Apostles, has been restored to the

proper use. It is a small strip of linen, hung by a loop
from the left hand of the minister administering the
Cup; and it is used to wipe the Cup as each commu-
nicant hands it back. It is curious that the Maniple is
retained as an ornament in the Roman Communion,
though the Cup is withheld from the laity. Even in the
Anglican Communion it is not correctly used. In so-
called "High Churches", it is worn as an ornament,
with some vague idea of an allusion to the Towel with
which Our Lord girded Himself at the Last Supper;
whilst a separate piece of linen is used to wipe the

In a brief paper like this, it has been possible

only to deal very shortly with a very wide and fasci-
nating subject; but perhaps enough has been said to
stimulate interest and a sense of thankfulness that in
this, as in all other matters, the Lord, by His Apostles,
has prevailed to gather GOLD from all the Tribes of
Christendom, and has ordained the correct use of
proper vestments, whilst discarding the additions and
inventions devised by the mere imaginings of men.

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