Decently habited, or clothes make the cleric

24

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  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    Over 50 years ago all the Catholic priests in France would have worn a cassock/soutane all of the time when out and about.

    We have seen Anglican clergy in the Ballarat diocese wear cassock as normal day attire, but that's probably changed in the quarter century or more or since we were last there.

    As to hot weather - one Ash Wednesday I was working in an inland centre. Unable to go to the mid-morning Eucharist and ashing, I went to the 7.30 pm. Even at that hour, it was still in the high 30s. Before the service, the priest came out and said that he would not be wearing a chasuble, they were all hot and the Lenten one particularly so. Instead he took the service wearing his cassock and stole. The only footwear was a pair of sandals, and no-one asked what was under the cassock. Common sense would have said just underwear. But as he offered the service, he looked dressed much as Augustine probably did on a similar occasion in Hippo and it was a reminder to me of our unity and continuity with the early church.

  • I love the way people talk about a priest/clergyman wearing "his cassock", implying that he only has one.

    If I get a job where a suit is the required uniform then I would expect to need a minimum of four suits: two for winter and two for summer: why is it that some clergy expect to get away with owning only one cassock? Even if they restrict their cassock-wearing to those occasions when "on duty" in church, there are still seasonal variations in temperature. Every priest should have at least two cassocks, and expect to get them cleaned regularly too (anyone else been near a priest whose cassock would appear to have its own flora and fauna, with the aroma to match?).

    Before anyone moans about cost, it has long been the case that clergy can offset the cost of a cassock against tax, an option not available to the rest of us.

    FWIW, when I first acquired an organist's post that required a cassock I was supplied with one only - I chose to equip myself with a second, light-weight one for summer because it made playing in high temperatures easier and more pleasant, both for me and for any page-turner in the loft with me.
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    A priest of that persuasion said something to me I hadn't considered. The point is precisely to identify that they aren't just a priest in church; they are just as much a priest when walking around doing things, and expect to be interrupted, to be stopped and asked for advice or otherwise engaged in converation. Thus, the church is seen as present in the world during the six days of the week when the world does not expect to be asked to engage with it. I was surprised to be told that this works at all these days, but I'm assured it does...

    Oh, it's absolutely true. People in public spaces reach out to clergy who look like clergy.

    When I was at my previous parish, I used to wear my cassock to and from church (this was a 45-mile journey over various forms of public transport) and would occasionally be stopped by people who wanted to make conversation. However, two people in particular stand out. I can remember one man who stopped me on a railway platform to ask me to pray with him while I was on my way to church. We also used to serve the Liturgy once per term at a boarding school with a large number of international students and no local Orthodox parish, and as I was on my way back to the railway station in Blackpool, a woman stopped me and tearfully asked me to pray for a litany of family members that she had recently lost in tragic circumstances. That was some years ago and I no longer remember any of their names - God knows them - but I still pray for them, and for her.

    These encounters would never have happened had I been in a t-shirt and jeans.
    Do priests, ministers and pastors get to Heaven?

    There's a Russian saying, 'The road to Hell is paved with Bishops' skulls.'

    There are a number of variant forms of this. My personal favourite is, 'The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the way'. It's often attributed to St John Chrysostom, although I don't think there's any extant primary source.
    Forthview wrote: »
    Over 50 years ago all the Catholic priests in France would have worn a cassock/soutane all of the time when out and about. Then this was stopped and they started to dress like Anglo Saxon clergy of that time wearing what was called 'le clergyman'. Since then 'le clergyman' has more or less disappeared and so ,to my mind at least, has disappeared any visible presence of the Church out in the street. Most priests now simply wear ordinary clothes, sometimes with a small cross which you would have to be looking for to notice.

    Yes, this does seem to be very much a French trait, and isn't limited to Catholicism. I know a ROCOR priest in the UK who only wears his cassock in church and removes it as soon as he leaves the grounds, wearing trousers and a normal shirt. He is also of the view that minor clergy should only wear their cassocks during service times. This always struck me as unusual for a priest of ROCOR.

    He had spent a number of years in the ROCOR Diocese of Western Europe, serving in France, where, he explained, this is much more the norm for Orthodox clergy.

    I see it now in the French parishes of my current jurisdiction (OCG), where cassocks tend to come off immediately after the services, even before the shared meal after the Sunday Mass. The cassock is optional for minor clergy, even during services.

    I know that at the time there were many voices denouncing as Islamophobic France's prohibition on the wearing of certain types of traditional Muslim attire for women but I wonder, could it be that there is perhaps a French cultural antipathy towards religious dress in public in general?
  • One very hot day, a devout lady of our up-the-candle parish said to our then vicar: 'Oh, Father, isn't it hot! I wonder you can bear to wear all those robes!'
    'Oh, it's no problem,' was the reply, 'under this lot I'm only wearing a pair of Y-fronts.' He went on to become a bishop.
  • I know a chap who went to Shrewsbury public school, as his father had done before him. He says that the headmaster's regular gag at school assemblies was to announce, 'I have a suit for every day of the week .... This is it.'
  • Talking of cassocks, I've noticed that some Orthodox priests have lighter grey or white ones for the summer months. Does this happen elsewhere?

    Most seem to wear black cassocks. I see very few Anglican clergy wearing them around these days, apart from fervently high up the candle ones.

    Heck, even RC nuns wear 'normal' clothes these days.
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    Talking of cassocks, I've noticed that some Orthodox priests have lighter grey or white ones for the summer months. Does this happen elsewhere?

    Yes. It's very common in warmer climates. I've seen white, black, blue, green, and grey, all in various shades. The colours have no significance other than preference.

    I have a dark grey/almost black one in wool and a light grey one in viscose, the letter with a little grapevine embroidery on the collar.
  • IereusIereus Shipmate Posts: 22
    I have cassocks (called anteri or inner cassock in Greek Orthodoxy) in black, blue, gray and red; of various weight materials. We also wear an outer cassock (called exorason in Greek) which in 99.9% of cases is always black. Outside of Greece, priests usually just wear the lighter inner cassock away from church. In Greece, it’s required by law that priests wear both cassocks and a clerical hat at all times.
  • IereusIereus Shipmate Posts: 22
    Also, during summer, I usually wear shorts and tank top under my cassock. Our church is not air conditioned: it was already 85 out when I began Divine Liturgy for Transfiguration this morning!
    We have to wear a full set of vestments for every Liturgy, so very sweaty. Difficult with no water or anything to drink since the night before.
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    We used to have an informal Eucharist at which the priest wore a stole over normal clothes are used a coffee/low table.

    The girls, and some of the boys, loved it when one of the curates presided – in jeans with a tightly-packed crotch.

    One argument in favour of robes.
  • I know some Orthodox who'd allow water but nothing else before the Eucharist.

    Whatever else one may say about Orthodoxy, it requires stamina.
  • Older RCs tell me that it used to be a regular thing for parishioners to faint during the Mass through lack of nourishment. I've never seen anyone keel over in an Orthodox service, which ones they're either made of sterner stuff or else they've been bending the rules a bit ...

    But then, if they're Russian they've probably been baptised in the Volga at sub-zero temperatures with Cossacks breaking the ice with sledge hammers first ...
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    I fainted during my first serving - Thursday at 7am and the vicar 'commanded' me always to have breakfast before coming to mass.
  • A Coptic clerical acquaintance told me that he just wore a warm-weather cassock on Sundays or a galabeya during the week when he first came to Canada as, arriving in Toronto in July, he thought that he had just moved to a much nicer and cleaner Cairo. However, he said that salt and slush made it an impractical garment, to which he added that when he used the religious instruction period in high schools, younger Copts did not want to be seen speaking with him for fear that their friends (how frequent it is that teenagers are not learned in the lives of minority communities from the Middle East!!) would assume that he was an extremist imam; consequently, outside services he wears the North American clerical garb of Roman collar and sports coat, so that he has easy access to hospitals etc.

    The galabeya, a light cotton garment which is most economical, can easily double as a pullover cassock, and I know of at least two now-departed clergy and one still-breathing choirmaster who used them in Ottawa's sluggish summer days. I never asked what they wore underneath for fear that they might take this is as an opening point in a discussion....
  • Never forget ekonomia. If someone is regularly fainting before the sacrament, their priest, if they're not of the hard-ass rigid variety, will likely give them a dispensation to eat a little something. One of our kids received such a blessing.
  • This was one of the reasons until the 1950s that many Catholics would not go often to Communion. There was no 'ekonomia' in the Catholic church - fasting from food and water from midnight was required - even cleaning one's teeth one had to avoid swallowing water.. So it was that pope Pius XII in the 1950s reduced the fasting to 3 hours from food and alcoholic drinks and then later on in the 1970s the fast was reduced really to a token one hour.This was also a reason why those going to Communion would often go early in the morning - even, although this may seem unbelievable now, before going to Mass.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Iereus wrote: »
    I have cassocks (called anteri or inner cassock in Greek Orthodoxy) in black, blue, gray and red; of various weight materials. We also wear an outer cassock (called exorason in Greek) which in 99.9% of cases is always black. Outside of Greece, priests usually just wear the lighter inner cassock away from church. In Greece, it’s required by law that priests wear both cassocks and a clerical hat at all times.

    A good way of warning everyone.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Iereus wrote: »
    I have cassocks (called anteri or inner cassock in Greek Orthodoxy) in black, blue, gray and red; of various weight materials. We also wear an outer cassock (called exorason in Greek) which in 99.9% of cases is always black. Outside of Greece, priests usually just wear the lighter inner cassock away from church. In Greece, it’s required by law that priests wear both cassocks and a clerical hat at all times.

    A good way of warning everyone.

    Rofl
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Meaning?
  • ROFL - rolling on floor laughing
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Thanks, I shall tuck that away for future use.

    As a matter of fairness though, I don't recall any Christian Orthodox (of any variety) clergy coming under adverse notice in the Royal Commission - Jewish Orthodox yes, Christian no.
  • How common is the full neck band collar as opposed to the tab collar?

    I know, a lot of people see the tab collar immediately think "priest/minister", but the full neck band collar doesn't seem to elicit the same reaction? Probably because the tab collar is nowadays, the preferred collar of RC priests?
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    How common is the full neck band collar as opposed to the tab collar?

    I dunno. But on this (the Brit) side of the pond the full collar had almost died out until a few young fogeys started to revive it a few years ago. It's my impression that for American (Episcopalian at least) clergy it is the majority preference.
  • CarysCarys Shipmate Posts: 25
    One thing which strikes me as important in discussions of priestly vesture in services is discussion of what other people are wearing. Coming from traditions within Anglicanism with a robed choir and/or servers then priests in cassocks/albs/vestments make sense. At my last church I reckoned that it was fairly common for a quarter of those gathered to be in some sort of robes, some (like the choir) wearing them every week, others wearing them to take on specific roles.

    In traditions which have ditched the robed choir for an informally attired worship group, the priest still wearing robes may look more of an anomaly

    Carys (aboard the new ship afresh after years overboard)
  • Welcome back!
  • LeoLeo Shipmate
    Ditto
  • ditto
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    It seems to me it is an anomaly if the choir is robed and the priest is not.
    Our priest had already ditched his robes for non Eucharistic services. During the recent heatwave he ditched his robes even for communion. Today, a distinctly cooler day, he presided in blue clerical shirt, dog collar, black shoes and trousers. Methinks he has taken advantage of having set a precedent during the heat. The choir was robed.
  • If your PP has so far forgotten himself as to appear as described then he needs to be reminded of the relevant rules, that is Canon B8, 2-5:
    2. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Canon no minister shall change the form of vesture in use in the church or chapel in which he officiates unless he has ascertained by consultation with the parochial church council that such changes will be acceptable: Provided always that in case of disagreement the minister shall refer the matter to the bishop of the diocese, whose direction shall be obeyed.

    3. At the Holy Communion the presiding minister shall wear either a surplice or alb with scarf or stole. When a stole is worn other customary vestments may be added. The epistoler and gospeller (if any) may wear surplice or alb to which other customary vestments may be added.

    4. At Morning and Evening Prayer on Sundays the minister shall normally wear a surplice or alb with scarf or stole.

    5. At the Occasional Offices the minister shall wear a surplice or alb with scarf or stole.

    In other words, since there is no longer a heatwave, and in accordance with the Canon, he should present himself for services properly dressed. This is a matter for the Standing Committee/ PCC and then, if you can't get any sense from him, for the Archdeacon.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I thought all this had been superseded last year by General Synod.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    On re-reading, I see that the reference to the PCC is still included.
  • I suspect it's a ruling that is largely overlooked these days. In many evangelical parishes clergy seem to bend over backwards not to wear anything that resembles traditional Anglican attire. They get away with that, with ignoring the lectionary and much more besides because they know they can do so with impunity.
  • In many evangelical parishes clergy seem to bend over backwards

    Is that the opposite of a profound bow or genuflexion? Methinks they do protest too much.
  • angloid wrote: »
    In many evangelical parishes clergy seem to bend over backwards

    Is that the opposite of a profound bow or genuflexion? Methinks they do protest too much.

    So low you have to limbo.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    How common is the full neck band collar as opposed to the tab collar?

    I dunno. But on this (the Brit) side of the pond the full collar had almost died out until a few young fogeys started to revive it a few years ago. It's my impression that for American (Episcopalian at least) clergy it is the majority preference.

    The neckband collar with a black shirt is alive and well from October to April in these parts - Shenandoah Valley. After that it is all bets off. Short sleeve tab shirts in light blue or light grey seem to be popular in the summer. I usually wear a cassock around the church. In winter this will be double breasted and worn over trousers and a neckband shirt and collar. In summer it is most likely to be single-breasted and worn over tee-shirt and chuddies. The church is inclined to be on the warm side all year around, so any vestments from which the heat can escape are appreciated. When it gets really grim I will drop down to an old English surplice over clerical shirt and trousers with a stole, but I won't go "shirt and stole."
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I'd have to say that was fairly long pregnant pause in this conversation ...
  • I once heard a well known Anglican cleric and writer say that he takes his dog collar off on public transport because it acts as ' a nutter magnet.'

    Yes, that has been my experience as well. And I loved your Russian proverb!
  • At the previously high-up-the-candle place of my former allegiance, the ragged hems of the priest's jeans and the running shoes revealed by his too-short surplice set me on the path of thinking this was no longer where I wanted to worship. That and the woman in tight trousers he now invited to serve in the sanctuary.
  • I can remember one very hot summer where I removed my trousers before taking a wedding - and no one knew because I was robed. Luckily I didn't have a Marilyn Monroe moment.
  • True. And I think that some Nonconformists like "dressing up" because it shows they are just as much "proper ministers" as their Anglican or Catholic colleagues.

    Rev T normally wears the bog standard Baptist uniform of good suit, plain shirt and sensible tie but he has a black shirt and a collar that he wears for weddings / baptisms / funerals if the family specifically asks.

    After several years of hosting this board, I insisted he get the black shirt and no other colours because other colours are naff ... The black makes him look like a member of the cast of Father Ted though. (I am so dead if he ever reads this ... :mrgreen: )

    When he does chaplaincy at the Abbey, they make him wear the full robes. Which feels really weird for a Baptist minister
  • When in Rome...
    :wink:

    The Vicar of a moderately-high/MOTR church I attended for a while, many years ago, rather shocked the Ladies Of The Parish by wearing shorts, and monastic sandals (no socks!) in summer, with a plain short-sleeved clerical shirt/collar on top.

    During the Eucharist, of course, this déshabillé, although in itself quite discreet IMHO, was decently hidden by alb, stole, and chasuble...

    The vicarial legs, and feet, BTW, were not unsightly in any way.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    cgichard wrote: »
    That and the woman in tight trousers he now invited to serve in the sanctuary.
    I'm sure you just averted your eyes ...

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Zappa wrote: »
    cgichard wrote: »
    That and the woman in tight trousers he now invited to serve in the sanctuary.
    I'm sure you just averted your eyes ...

    Indeed. I'm wondering how the tight trousers could be detected under an alb,

    Bishop's Finger - an Englishman wearing sandals with no socks! Shock, horror!
  • Yes! Is Outrage! And partly explains the discombobulation of the Ladies Of The Parish on seeing the nekkid toes displayed...
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    But timeless - it could have been anywhere around the Mediterranean world a couple of thousand years ago, and even more widely spread in the last 600 or so.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Zappa wrote: »
    cgichard wrote: »
    That and the woman in tight trousers he now invited to serve in the sanctuary.
    I'm sure you just averted your eyes ...

    Indeed. I'm wondering how the tight trousers could be detected under an alb,

    No alb, she was just wearing ordinary street clothes when assisting at the altar. I averted not only my eyes but my person, and went elsewhere to my great joy and benefit.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'm surprised that a server or assistant was not vested but perhaps that's not your tradition.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I once heard a well known Anglican cleric and writer say that he takes his dog collar off on public transport because it acts as ' a nutter magnet.'

    Yes, that has been my experience as well. And I loved your Russian proverb!

    I do not to wear the collar on buses due to the nutter factor. I gave it up about 10 years ago. Flying it depends on whether or not I am being picked up at the other end. I find it is easier for the random parishioner 'volunteered' to collect 'Fr Visiting Preacher' to find me if I am collared.

    About the only time I would wear socks with sandals is when taking a service. Sandals and bare feet have happened a few times, but not often. It has to be black sandals, though, as I have to draw the line somewhere.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Draw the line at sandals without socks. Fo us, socks and sandals reek of Blackpool pier etc.
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