Liturgical colours

This discussion was created from comments split from: An Announcement: New Bishop for Diocese of Vermont.
«1

Comments

  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    BabyWombat wrote: »

    :blush: Oh dear. I think I'm in love :wink:
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    Had you been present as visiting clergy last Saturday what would you have worn?

    I have a beautiful red stole created by a remote Australian Indigenous community. That.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    Yes, the Episcopal Church has no defined set of colors that I know of, although most liturgical calendars will indicate a color for the day or event....
    Oh, but we do!

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Not red for martyrs?
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    I amend my claim and supply as evidence Rossweisse’s excellent page. Although, Episcopal church rules can be opaque to me, so who knows if that has binding powers.
  • ECraigR wrote: »
    I amend my claim and supply as evidence Rossweisse’s excellent page. Although, Episcopal church rules can be opaque to me, so who knows if that has binding powers.
    Again, non-Episcopalian here, but I would assume that webpage isn't "binding" at all; rather, I would take it as descriptive of (widely) prevailing custom.

    What I said was that neither the (1979) BCP nor, to the best of my knowledge, any other authorized liturgical documents in TEC specify what color is to be used on any given day or occasion. My understanding is that for it to be binding, it must be in the canons, the BCP or some other document authorized by General Convention. That the info on the webpage is fairly broadly stated and bare bones seems to support a reading that it is descriptive, not prescriptive. For example, as Gee D notes, nothing is said about saints' days, martyrs or otherwise. (And do Episcopal churches use red on Maundy Thursday? It's been some time since I've been in an Episcopal church on that day, but I thought I remembered white being used.)

    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    Had you been present as visiting clergy last Saturday what would you have worn?
    An interesting question that I’ll need to ponder, given that I’m not clergy (visiting or otherwise) and therefore have no stoles. But it might be fun to imagine. :smile:
    Well, I have pondered and imagined, and it occurred to me that since it's not uncommon on occasion to see clergy of my tribe wearing a tartan stole*, that might be a festive thing to wear as visiting clergy. Perhaps Royal Stewart if going with red, or Dress Stewart if going with the PB's white. :mrgreen:


    * Such stoles are almost invariably in the Breacan Na’n Clerach, the clergy tartan, and typically have Celtic crosses of some sort, or perhaps our tribal emblem at the bottom on each side. Such stoles tend to be seen during Ordinary Time when green would otherwise be the color or, perhaps paradoxically, on Special Occasions.

    BTW, Episcopal Clergy have their own tartan, registered in 1996 to commemorate the bicentennial of the death of the Rt. Rev. Samuel Seabury, first American bishop who was consecrated by bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Well, I know what I was taught in confirmation class, what I have seen for decades on my annual Ordo Kalendar, and what I have read in every source I've encountered, and it all matches that official page from the Episcopal Church. I think the new bishop's vestments are more a "I want to do this, and nobody around here is going to tell me I can't" thing. We get those from time to time.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Well ..... I think the new bishop's vestments are more a "I want to do this, and nobody around here is going to tell me I can't" thing. We get those from time to time.
    Yup, that certainly could be it! Were I getting ordained to the episcopate I'd probably want something special to me for me too. And, Bishop Shannon's resume notes that she is an artist and did indeed own and lead a design firm for ten years.

    In rethinking all this I do recall that the collect for the day used by Bishop Curry was that for St. Michael and All Angels. So the bishops were, more or less, in white which would be the appropriate color on those Ordo Calendars that lurk in many a sacristy. And with that white vestment theme, Bishop Shannon was in, shall we say, an enhanced white vestment.

    But..... maybe I didn't pay that much attention in liturgical theology classes, but isn't so much of this really about adiaphora? Color, fabric, weave, style are not, to my thinking, critical to the sacramental reality.

    It is fun to critique vestments. I have delighted in many a 'tacky vestment' page myself. A priest colleague and I had some fun in the preservice hours (we had to vest by 9 and did not begin to process until 10:30) critiquing 'festal stoles' worn by our colleagues. Some were lovely, some were hideous, and many seemed to match what we know about the wearer. The "by the book" folk seemed to have a standard issue stole from one of the copy-cat clergy supply houses. One priest-nun had woven the fabric and stiched the stole herself, and it reflected her earthy simplicity. Others had fabric 'icons' on them, some of saints long past, some of more recent saints such as Ghandi, making some sort of statement I suppose. Mine and that of many others in the diocese had a subtle or not so subtle rainbow motif to proclaim our LGBTQ pride, yet another statement made. And there's a risk in all of that -- that in personalizing our vesture we run the risk of no longer modeling the inclusive love of Christ, and veer away from sacramental reality and into ego.

    I am fairly confident that Bishop Shannon's vestment will hang in a closet a great deal. Seldom have I seen a priest or bishop often wear that special vestment made for their ordination. Most simply wear whatever it is that the sacristan put out. And most of that is bog standard and in accord with those ordo calendars.

    And, what fun this has been! Peace be upon us all.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Nick Tamen, We'd use red for Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday (even at the early service before the procession) and finishing with the stripping of the altar at the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday evening service
  • BabyWombat wrote: »
    And, what fun this has been!
    Agreed, though I fear I inadvertently opened a can of worms I didn’t mean to, so I apologize for that.

    Just to be clear, I was not meaning to suggest at all that there isn’t a clear, well-established and all but universally followed system of liturgical colors in TEC. I do know better than that. All I was trying to convey was my understanding—based on reading (hopeless liturgy geek that I am) and conversations with Episcopal clergy—that TEC’s clear, well-established and all but universally followed system of liturgical colors is based on custom and consensus rather than official imposition. That doesn’t mean it’s not a “rule” of sorts; it’s a de facto rule, imposed by standard practice and enforced by a mutual sense of what is and isn’t “done,” rather than a de jure rule established by “law.”

    That’s actually, so far as I know, the norm for most Western churches—the Catholic Church, where the system of liturgical colors is prescribed in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (para. 346) being the notable exception. And it seems to me that it’s a good arrangement. It provides the flexibility that can lead to some changes or alternatives that gain wide acceptance, such as use of blue in Advent, or recovery of Lenten array, neither of which are permissible under rules that apply in Catholic churches.

    It can, of course, also lead to unfortunate experiments and innovations. But unless those experiments and innovations gain wide acceptance, they remain deviations from from the widely accepted standard—deviations perhaps best avoided because, as my mother would have said, “it simply isn’t done.”

  • Gee D wrote: »
    Nick Tamen, We'd use red for Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday (even at the early service before the procession) and finishing with the stripping of the altar at the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday evening service
    Thanks, Gee D. My memory of white on Maundy Thursday may well be faulty.

    When comparing the color schemes used in various churches, Holy Week seems to be where the most variation occurs.

  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    Please, enough about ecclesiastical colours. That discussion does not really belong in All Saints and the thread has moved well beyond the OP.

    Start another in Ecclesiantics to pursue that topic.

    Thanks

    Lothlorien, AS host
  • Lothlorien wrote: »
    Please, enough about ecclesiastical colours. That discussion does not really belong in All Saints and the thread has moved well beyond the OP.

    Start another in Ecclesiantics to pursue that topic.

    Thanks

    Lothlorien, AS host
    My apologies. I confess I sometimes fail to catch what forum a thread is in. I must be more observant in that regard.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'm afraid that I come to posts via the Recent Discussions link, and that does not show the board. I'll try to check back if I'm going to post
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    On my devices, when I come in via Recent Discussions, which I usually do, each thread has an orange rectangle showing whether it is new, or how many posts there have been on it since I last visited it, and a dark grey rectangle showing which board it is on.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Thanks - I was not getting that, but see that if I scroll to the top of an opened page I can get it there.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I don't know what I did, but I am now getting that grey box
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Nick Tamen, We'd use red for Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday (even at the early service before the procession) and finishing with the stripping of the altar at the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday evening service
    Thanks, Gee D. My memory of white on Maundy Thursday may well be faulty.

    When comparing the color schemes used in various churches, Holy Week seems to be where the most variation occurs.

    White is perfectly correct for Maundy Thursday. Every church I’ve been to wears white for the Mass of The Lord’s Supper and it has never occurred to me that any other colour should be worn. Red for the rest of Holy Week, including Good Friday
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    By contrast, my recollection is red, not white, on Maundy Thursday. Perhaps the difficulties of getting sacristans in on Thursday to change everything has caused the usage.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    I think, think, because I oddly don’t remember, that we do red on Maundy Thursday and unbleached linen on Good Friday.
  • Our Place (C of E) uses red for Palm Sunday, white for Maundy Thursday, and red for Good Friday.

    Offhand, I can't recall what Father NewPriest used for the daily Mass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, of Holy Week...but I think it was purple.

    Re Bishop Shannon, I thought the chasuble looked very well. The videos didn't show up too well on my PC, but I got the impression of white, with a hint of blue, and silver - is that right?

    If so, eminently suitable for feasts of Our Blessed Lady.... :wink:

    (Our Place has a full High Mass set - maniples, and all - in a most gorgeous azure blue, along with two other Marian chasubles. One is pale cream, with blue fleur-de-lis embroidered thereupon, and the other is a pale blue, with I've-forgotten-what-decoration...)

  • BTW, in case anyone's wondering, the Marian vestments are used at least once a month at our Walsingham Cell Mass, and on any other suitable occasions we can think upof.

    Well, this is England - Our Lady's Dowry! Her intercessions are being urgently sought for that distraught land at the moment...
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    By contrast, my recollection is red, not white, on Maundy Thursday. Perhaps the difficulties of getting sacristans in on Thursday to change everything has caused the usage.

    The Sarum rules were (dark) red for Passiontide except when the bishop celebrates on Maundy Thursday, and this seems to be pretty much the norm where the Anglo-Norman redaction of the Carolingian version of the Roman Rite was in use. The exception for when the bishop celebrates is because it was the Chrism Mass.
  • BTW, in case anyone's wondering, the Marian vestments are used at least once a month at our Walsingham Cell Mass, and on any other suitable occasions we can think upof.

    Well, this is England - Our Lady's Dowry! Her intercessions are being urgently sought for that distraught land at the moment...

    Frankly I'll take the intercessions of any saint that's going right now, though with the exception of Our Lady the chief recipient of my requests for prayer is St Baithéne mac Brénaind, cousin of Columba and former abbot of the monastery here. Given his primary charge was the production of food and the supervision of penitents his expertise seems like it could be of use in the coming weeks.
  • Indeed, and I suspect St Jude (patron of lost causes, IIRC) might be experiencing heavy traffic just now, too... :grimace:
  • Indeed, and I suspect St Jude (patron of lost causes, IIRC) might be experiencing heavy traffic just now, too... :grimace:

    Does this mean that St Jude will have to pick a side amongst his petitioners?
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I need advice: I think I remember D. saying that purple was correct for funerals, and that was what he wanted. Now that I actually have to implement his wish, is it likely that it would be what a traditional, quite-far-up-the-candle Anglican would want?

    Put it another way, what would Cranmer do? ;)
  • Not sure what Cranmer would do, but either purple or white seem usual in reasonably-high Anglican parishes, at least on this side of the Pond.

    Mind you, if purple is what D. wanted, purple he should have.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Most ACs I know insist on black for funerals, but maybe that’s an American AC thing. But I believe that standard usage is to choose from white, black, or purple. So if he said he wanted purple, that would certainly be permissible and not unusual.
  • Black is not so common here, I think, (unless the minister is wearing cassock, surplice, and black scarf i.e. not a stole).

    Yes, purple is fine.
  • PendragonPendragon Shipmate
    Mr P wants Black (it's the one thing I know about his funeral preferences), and I believe we have a black high mass set at our church, and Father Duck would wear it, but purple is also fine.
  • I object to any list that doesn't include rose.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Interesting variations. St Sanity normally does white funerals but will do purple if really asked.

    As for other colours, few places these days would have the money to have both red and dark red, let alone blue. We certainly don't, even excluding chasubles.
  • JapesJapes Shipmate
    On the whole, the current UK tendency in my experience is white for funerals, but I've certainly played for funerals where purple has been worn, especially if requested. I'd need to liberate my funeral instructions from the church safe (given I live alone, and my family wouldn't have a clue, it seemed prudent to be prepared) to check what I've said!

    However, I'm someone who does my utmost to comply with specific requests for funerals where possible and have diplomatic reasons for why not when my inner liturgically minded soul screams "No!!!".
  • I was told in my yoof that it was Black for a Sinner, Purple for a Penitent and White for a Saint but it was normal to use Purple for all as we did not know which state anyone was in so we chose the middle option. I was not Anglican at the time and I would not say that the Anglican clerics I was talking with were 'quite-far-up-the-candle'.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Some clergy wear a double sided stole for funerals so that they can begin the service with purple and then change over to white as a symbol of the hope of the resurrection.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    In the olden days in the RC church candles for liturgical use had to be at least 51% beeswax and should be bleached white or cream. For funerals , however, the candles were unbleached and had that orange colour which one finds today in most Orthodox churches.

    Nowadays instead of the six mourning candles, the Paschal candle, symbol of the Resurrection, is placed near the coffin and the vestments are generally white, unless purple is specifically asked for. Black is still allowed, but apart from in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite I have not seen it since the early 1970s.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited October 3
    One of my tutors said that she now only wears a purple stole for conducting funerals. On one occasion a parishoner asked her to wear a white stole at a service and she agreed. And then another parishoner came to ask her why she had worn a purple stole when conducting her father's funeral. And was it because he had not been a regular churchgoer? So people can read a lot into symbolism.

    On another occasion a teenager was buried in a grave at the end of the church graveyard. The graveyard was almost full up and it was one of the last plots. And a parishoner asked if he had to buried there because he had committed suicide. Of course it was nothing of the kind. And we explained that this would never be done.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited October 3
    @Gee D - when St Oddball's started it inherited quite a bit of tat from a couple of other congregations which had recently closed down. One peculiar aspect of our inheritance was that we ended up with two red frontals - one dark red but with quite a bit of gold in it, which we use for Whitsunday and martyrs, and one that is even darker red which we use for Passiontide. We don't have a 'vestment or cope' that matches the darker one so I wear cassock, surplice, and tippet. I would like a chasuble to go with it, but I think the colour is going to be a beggar to match.

    I am fairly well over at the 'Parson's Handbook' end of Anglican ceremonial, though I do not feel tied to all of Bl. Percy's oddities. We have a Lent Array chasuble, but no frontal to go with it. The altar, which is carved stone, gets cover with a full sized linen table cloth for Lent. They get to see the carving again come Easter, and there is not a lot else to veil in our church which was built for the Lutherans.

    I also don't feel any great commitment to the Victorian idea of have sets of everything; I will pick and mix amongst what we have provided the vestments and paraments look well together. Mediaeval churches had very limited inventories, and certainly were not decked out in the approved styles in the approved colours all of the time; indeed, I suspect mediaeval Christians would have laughed at such an idea. Needless to say, I agree with Bl. Percy about later Roman regimentation.

    When it comes to funerals I start from the position that violet is customary; the alternative is colour of the season. You only get white if you are a child under seven (God forbid I ever have to do one of those) or a saint, or manage to have your funeral in Christmas-tide, Epiphany-tide or Eastertide.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited October 3
    As usual, local customs vary!

    We have acquired, as generous gifts from our late churchwarden J a few years ago (he died in 2016), full High Mass sets in red, white/gold, white/red, green, purple, black, and azure blue (as mentioned previously).

    They are of reasonable quality, look good, and cost only about £300 per set (IIRC), being made by a firm in India which is certified by the Indian Government as being a fair, and proper, employer (J had Indian friends, and connections).

    We have a rather miscellaneous collection of older vestments - some, probably, dating from the building of the church just before WW1. I think we now only have High Mass sets in red, and green - the others having succumbed to wear and tear (though you'd think the green set would have gone first - I guess it's been refurbished at times). An old, dark blood-red, chasuble is ideal for use at a weekday Mass commemorating a martyr.

    @Columba_in_a_Currach will be pleased to learn that we have a very fine rose-pink chasuble, and stole, which enjoy an outing on the two suitable Sundays each year! We also have a really lovely dark Sarum blue chasuble, and matching stole, but they are getting old, and frail, and need some minor repairs.

    I yearn, nay, pine, for a saffron-yellow chasuble, for the Feasts of Confessors...
    :sunglasses:
  • @Piglet, purple certainly seems to be a correct color and maybe even the presumed color under a traditional high-up-the-candle Anglican practice. If you remember that it's what D wanted, I think you're on very safe ground to go with purple.

    Peace be with you!

  • I attended a former parish of mine yesterday where a well loved parishioner was celebrating her 100th birthday. The priest celebrated Eucharist in alb and stole. The stole had a background of hunting camouflage, with its green/brown crazy pattern. On closer look one could see the faces of deer peeking out through the pattern. The backing was bright fluorescent “safety” orange, and wrapped around to the front to make two bright orange edges to the murk and deer snouts peeking out. Yes, deer hunting season is almost upon us, and yes, the priest is a hunter.

    No, TEC does not list any such color or pattern as an option for vesture. And Yes, IMHO that was a tacky vestment!
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited October 21
    One of the odd jobs I have picked up over the year is preparing the diocesan calendar which is where you will find our diocese's suggested colour scheme. The actual calendar is set up on the usual white-red-green-violet scheme, but every year they see my hobby-horse in the notes.

    "Lent array may be used from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday following the Fourth Sunday in Lent."
    "Dark red paraments and vestments may be used from Passion Sunday to Easter Eve."

    My own parish is violet in Lent until Passion Sunday at which point we switch to Dark red paraments. That said, we may finally go with Lent Array next year.
  • BabyWombat wrote: »
    I attended a former parish of mine yesterday where a well loved parishioner was celebrating her 100th birthday. The priest celebrated Eucharist in alb and stole. The stole had a background of hunting camouflage, with its green/brown crazy pattern. On closer look one could see the faces of deer peeking out through the pattern. The backing was bright fluorescent “safety” orange, and wrapped around to the front to make two bright orange edges to the murk and deer snouts peeking out. Yes, deer hunting season is almost upon us, and yes, the priest is a hunter.

    No, TEC does not list any such color or pattern as an option for vesture. And Yes, IMHO that was a tacky vestment!

    Does the priest also have a stole, decorated with images of guns, to match the one depicting his prey?
    :angry:

  • BabyWombat wrote: »
    I attended a former parish of mine yesterday where a well loved parishioner was celebrating her 100th birthday. The priest celebrated Eucharist in alb and stole. The stole had a background of hunting camouflage, with its green/brown crazy pattern. On closer look one could see the faces of deer peeking out through the pattern. The backing was bright fluorescent “safety” orange, and wrapped around to the front to make two bright orange edges to the murk and deer snouts peeking out. Yes, deer hunting season is almost upon us, and yes, the priest is a hunter.

    No, TEC does not list any such color or pattern as an option for vesture. And Yes, IMHO that was a tacky vestment!

    Does the priest ensure that the parish's services feature devotions to Saint Hubert? Luckily, the saint's feast is not until November 3, so BabyWombat is in a position to speak the truth in love and encourage the priest to ensure that the homily that day focuses on ethical hunting behaviour. Small flasks of Jagermeister (bearing the image of the deer who chastized Saint Hubert) can circulate among worshippers to inspire them further.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    I attended a former parish of mine yesterday where a well loved parishioner was celebrating her 100th birthday. The priest celebrated Eucharist in alb and stole. The stole had a background of hunting camouflage, with its green/brown crazy pattern. On closer look one could see the faces of deer peeking out through the pattern. The backing was bright fluorescent “safety” orange, and wrapped around to the front to make two bright orange edges to the murk and deer snouts peeking out. Yes, deer hunting season is almost upon us, and yes, the priest is a hunter.

    No, TEC does not list any such color or pattern as an option for vesture. And Yes, IMHO that was a tacky vestment!

    That’s horrifying. A friend from my cathedral just got back from a two week trip out west. He attended one church where the priest didn’t even wear any vestments, just business casual clothes. I understand TEC is quite broad with many different traditions, but that, combined with other practices my friend described, just strain believability.
  • @Augustine the Aleut Ah yes, I would fully support such devotion incorporating Jagermeister! St. Hubert should indeed be honored!

    @ECraigR What your friend reported does indeed sound concerning, but I wonder what the context was. For most of my ministry I have been self supporting clergy. My day job in health care was in the same town as my church. There was a small but faithful group of parishioners, augmented by some others, who attended a noon Eucharist on Wednesdays. I would roar off from my desk, light candles on the chapel altar, toss a stole over my shirt and tie, and celebrate Holy Communion. Not quite as radical as your friend witnessed, but close.

    And, on an week's vacation by the sea with some friends, we learned of the death of a well loved parishioner known to us all. We could not get back in time for her funeral which a colleague took for me. But we gathered very early morning that day on the sand and I celebrated the funeral rite with Eucharist. No stole, no fair linen, a roll on a paper plate and a plastic cup of wine. We gave thanks, we wept. And during the words of the committal I was deeply moved that without prompting all gathered sand and let it slowly trickle through their fingers. Had there been passers by I suppose they thought I was reading from a small book as we were having such a strange breakfast.





  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    That last one is strangely powerful in your retelling, and is I think well-done under the circumstances. Your circumstances for noon Eucharist also sound constricting, so at least you wore a stole!

    No, this was a normal Sunday service, with Eucharist and everything, but all quite strange as my friend described it. Besides the priest being in plain clothes, she sat with the parishioners in a kind of circle around the altar, which he relayed was a kind of tree stump with a slab of wood on it, and the priest didn’t distinguish herself at all except for the reading of the Gospel, sermon, and the Eucharist. He comes from my cathedral, which is adroitly Anglo-Catholic, and so was properly horrified by it all. I’m mainly surprised that such a degree of latitude exists in TEC. I used to attend a pretty low church, but nothing like that.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    @ECraigR - the no vestments at all routine is the sort of thing that would have jangled the nerves of my very proper Low Church rector in my second curacy. We always wore cassock, surplice, and tippet for services, and it also went with the territory that we followed the BCP with great precision, ignoring the more catholic options. I came from a more High Church tradition, so that was a learning curve for me, but I learned to appreciate it. I have learned to be flexible when it comes to ceremonial over the years, but no vestments is going a bit far for me.
  • We can distinguish, and be more flexible about, intimate gatherings such as @BabyWombat describes. But I have encountered vestmentless services in Florida which I have found disconcerting-- this particular visitor felt as if they had come to a private club event-- careful observation was necessary to figure out who was the celebrant.
Sign In or Register to comment.