In my previous articles, I gave an overview of the Divine Liturgy as well as a look at the prayers of the priest and deacon prior to the Liturgy. In this article I will explain the various vestment articles of the priest. In future articles I will explain the vestments of the deacon and bishop.
The Anteri or Inner Cassock is worn by all members of the clergy and monastics. Not considered a Liturgical Garment as such but is the “foundation” garment. Black is the usual color but blue and grey can be used. The Patriarch of Romania wears a white Anteri.
Each article of vestment has an associated prayer that I will place after the description.
The Sticharion ~ This is a form of the garment worn at baptism but is much more ornate.
My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garment of salvation, he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity, like a bridegroom wearing his wreath, like a bride adorned in her jewels.
The Epitrachelion or Stole ~ This is the symbol of the priesthood. Worn around the neck when the priest is serving any liturgical function that does not require full vestments, i.e. Vespers or blessings. If the priest is not celebrating Liturgy, he will put this on prior to receiving communion.
Blessed is God who pours out his grace on his priests, fine as oil on the head, running down the beard, running down Arron’s beard to the color of his robes.
The Zone or Belt ~ Signifies the priests readiness for service as a man girds himself before a journey the priest girds himself when he is about to serve the sacred ministry.
Blessed is God who girds me with strength and makes my way without blame.
The Epimanikia or Cuffs ~ One worn on the right and one worn on the left.
For the Right Cuff: Your right hand, O Lord, shows majestic in power! Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. So great your splendor, you crush your foes.For the Left Cuff: It was your hands that made me and shaped me. Give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
The Epigonation ~ A stiff diamond shaped vestment worn on the right side by some priests. In some tradition priests who are also confessors are given this a sign of that office and in other traditions, like the Romanian Tradition, it is given in recognition. It represents a shield, originating from the shield worn by soldiers on their thigh. It denotes the wearer as a soldier of Christ and it also symbolizes the Word of God fighting the wiles of the enemy.
The Phelonion ~ This garment is equal to the chasuble worn by priests in the Western Church. This is the outer garment like a poncho. It is not only worn for the Divine Liturgy but for Vespers as well as Sacraments. It is also usually worn for funerals.
Next time Liturgical Colors