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Bishop vestments

In the Orthodox Church, any member of the clergy, of whatever rank, will be wearing liturgical vestments when serving his particular function during the Divine Liturgy or other service. Various church vestments serve several different functions. The three forms of stole (Orarion, Epitrachelion, and Omophorion) are marks of rank. The three outer garments or clergy vestments (Sticharion, Phelonion, and Sakkos) serve to distinguish the clergy from the laity. Some are practical (Zone and Epimanikia), holding the other clergy vestments in place. Some (Nabedrennik and Epigonation) are awards of distinction.
In addition to these functions, most clergy vestments carry a symbolic meaning as well. These symbolic meanings are often indicated by the prayer that the priest says as he puts each item of the church vestments on. These prayers are verses taken directly from the Old Testament, usually the Psalms. For example, the prayer for the Sticharion is from Isaiah 61:10: My soul will rejoice in the Lord, for he has clothed me with a garment of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of gladness; he has placed a crown on my head as on a bridegroom, and adorned me with beauty as a bride.
Epitrachelion (Greek ἐπιτραχήλιον, "over the neck") - This stole is worn by priests and bishops as the symbol of their priesthood. This part of liturgical vestments is worn around the neck with the two adjacent sides sewn or buttoned together, leaving enough space through which to place the head.
Epimanikia (Greek ἐπιμανίκια) Cuffs bound with laces. The deacon wears them beneath the sticharion, priests and bishops above. They are not used by any lower rank.
Zone (Greek ζώνη) - This part of clergy vestments is a cloth belt worn by priests and bishops over the epitrachelion. Phelonion (Greek φαιλόνιον or φαινόλιον) - This part of priest vestments is a large conical sleeveless garment worn by priests over all other vestments, with the front largely cut away to free the hands. Byzantine rite Bishops may also wear the phelonion when not serving according to hierarchical rubrics.
Sakkos (Greek σάκκος) - Instead of the phelonion, the bishop usually wears church vestment garment called sakkos or Imperial dalmatic. This is a tunic reaching below the knees with wide sleeves and a distinctive pattern of trim. It is always buttoned up the sides.
Epigonation/Palitsa (Greek ἐπιγονάτιον "over the knee"; Slavonic палица, "club") - This part of clergy vestments is a stiff diamond-shaped cloth that hangs on the right side of the body; it is suspended by one corner from a strap drawn over the left shoulder. It is worn by all bishops and as an award for priests.
Omophorion (Greek ὠμοφόριον) - This is the distinctive episcopal vestment, a wide cloth band draped about the shoulders in a characteristic manner.
Mantiya/Mantle (Greek μανδύας) - This part of church vestments is a sleeveless cape that fastens at the neck and the feet, worn by all monks. There are two types of monastic mantles: full mantle and semi-mantle. The latter is shorter than the regular mantle, does not have a train and is worn outside the church. The usual monastic mantle is black; that worn by the bishop as he enters the church for a service but before he is vested is more elaborately colored and decorated. This is, strictly speaking, an item of street wear, not a vestment; however, in modern usage episcopal mantle is worn only in church.
Despite their often elaborate design, clergy vestments are generally intended to focus attention on God, and the office of the person wearing them, rather than on the person himself. It is partly for this reason that a Russian phelonion is designed with a very high back, so that when the priest is standing facing the altar his head is almost completely hidden. Other items, such as the epimanikia or cuffs, represent manacles or chains, reminding the wearer and others that their office is a position of service. (Partial source: Wikipedia.)
Istok Church Supplies offers excellent selection of carefully tailored Orthodox Bishop vestments made of various outstanding fabrics and velvet. Custom-designs for embroidered vestments are welcome. If you have a rush need in getting your Bishop vestments and yet want to have embroidered your own design, you need to supply us with camera-ready pattern for various parts of the Bishop vestments. Otherwise, we can make these patterns for you.


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