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Author Topic: Vestment Colors for Funerals  (Read 5113 times) Average Rating: 0
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BasilCan
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« on: March 07, 2008, 10:17:25 PM »

What color vestments does your priest wear for funerals? I know in the Greek Church (in North America and Greece) wear white. What other colors are worn and by which traditions? (i.e. Russian, Serbian, Antiochian, Romanian, Coptic etc)

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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2008, 02:38:38 AM »

From my experience, always black in Romania, except for the Bright Week.
BTW, Romanians also use black for the weekday services of the Great Lent.
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2008, 12:53:24 PM »

What color vestments does your priest wear for funerals? I know in the Greek Church (in North America and Greece) wear white. What other colors are worn and by which traditions? (i.e. Russian, Serbian, Antiochian, Romanian, Coptic etc)

Basil

iirc the Antiochian Church also uses white.
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2008, 01:13:46 PM »

White!  (serbian church)  Or bright colors.  definitely nothing black. 

Interestingly we do wear black for good friday, even though I am pretty sure this is not correct. 

[modified to add points.]
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2008, 01:17:20 PM »

White!  (serbian church)  Or bright colors.  definitely nothing black. 

Interestingly we do wear black for good friday, even though I am pretty sure this is not correct. 

[modified to add points.] 

I don't think it's common for Greeks to wear black at any point during Lent or Holy Week....
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2008, 01:21:44 PM »

iirc the Antiochian Church also uses white.
Sometimes they will also use dark red velvet. There is no rhyme or reason to when they use white and when they use red. I do think it is more of a Lebanese thing, since those who do wear the read velvet tend to be from there and get the vestments from there. My guess it is a Russian influence on them.
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2008, 01:24:48 PM »

Sometimes they will also use dark red velvet. There is no rhyme or reason to when they use white and when they use red. I do think it is more of a Lebanese thing, since those who do wear the read velvet tend to be from there and get the vestments from there. My guess it is a Russian influence on them.

Sounds like a reasonable hypothesis.
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2008, 04:53:17 PM »

I don't think it's common for Greeks to wear black at any point during Lent or Holy Week....

At my parish clergy always wear black vestments during weekdays of Great Lent.
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2008, 06:48:30 PM »

White!  (serbian church)  Or bright colors.  definitely nothing black. 

Interestingly we do wear black for good friday, even though I am pretty sure this is not correct. 

[modified to add points.]

Brate ...at the funeral of mom and dad it was dark vestments at the serbian church....did they change the colors now Huh...priest had a dark petrajil [ stole] around his neck black and white crosses on it about 6 infront one behind his neck.....if they changed they never told me about it.........stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2008, 07:46:39 PM »

Reply to serb1389, Reply #3,

I have read, over a decade ago, in "Orthodox Tradition, published by the Center For Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, in Etna, California, that black is not appropriate in Greek practice, except for Holy Table clothes or other places cloths may be used in the church, on Great Friday, (during the day, i.e. Royal Hours and during the Unnailing Service).  I don't recall whether the article commented on the color of the priest's vestments.

By the way, you (all) know that colors are a later part of the Second Millennium development; they were never traditionally prescribed.  Correct?

An aside; only last year did I become aware that in Greece, and apparently in Greek practice in the US, blue is the common color for vestments at the Salutations to the Theotokos Service; one of her colors.  Previously, I thought the purple for Great Lent was the standard for this service.  Any comments on this? I'm sorry if it appears I'm changing the topic.  I do not mean to do that.
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2008, 08:36:14 PM »

An aside; only last year did I become aware that in Greece, and apparently in Greek practice in the US, blue is the common color for vestments at the Salutations to the Theotokos Service; one of her colors.  Previously, I thought the purple for Great Lent was the standard for this service.

From my experience: Purple is for weekdays in lent; however, weekends are different in their Liturgical nature (one is still allowed to do Divine Liturgy on the weekends; while one still abstains from Meat and Dairy and the like, one is not supposed to totally fast - i.e. not eat - on Saturday and Sunday; Sunday still has its Resurrectional Character except for Palm Sunday), and thus the colors change back.  So, if you're keeping up with colors (which we did at Seminary) it goes like this: flip to Purple at the Prokeimenon of Sunday evening Vespers, and stay purple until Friday Vespers.  Since Salutations is Small Compline (a post-Vespers service), the color Blue is appropriate since in the Greek tradition it is associated with feasts of the Theotokos, and the Salutations service began as a part of the pre-feast celebration of the Annunciation.  So you can flip to blue Friday evening, and then to Gold after the service, for Saturday and Sunday.  Then back to Purple on Sunday evening.
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2008, 08:43:59 PM »

Thank you Cleveland, as always.  This is valuable information.  However, I would like to know, is blue the current standard in current Greek practice for the Friday evening Lenten Salutations, and, if so, when did it become the practice?
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2008, 08:54:08 PM »

Thank you Cleveland, as always.  This is valuable information.  However, I would like to know, is blue the current standard in current Greek practice for the Friday evening Lenten Salutations, and, if so, when did it become the practice? 

I doubt that most parishes do it, and here's why:  Most parishes only observe a limited schedule of services during lent: Sunday Liturgy, Monday Great Compline, Wednesday Presanctified Liturgy, and Friday Salutations.  In such cases, it is considered a great hassle to change the altar coverings twice per week, even though there are usually only 4 services per week.  Under such circumstances, most parishes put on their Purple/Lenten Altar Covers on Clean Monday and leave them on until Palm Sunday, or even until Great and Holy Saturday.

What I have described in my earlier post would be the ideal practice, only done at Seminary and at Monasteries (places where there are services at least twice per day and there is a staff of people able to help with changing the Altar/Prothesis/etc coverings).  There may be a few parishes who also change to Blue, but they're probably rare.  Again, it's the ideal, although to most not practical.

As for "when did it become the practice," I don't have a clue.  I've not done much study into the history of colors of Liturgical covers... Although it sounds like a nice project for me to take up someday.
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2008, 10:00:19 PM »

Thanks again, Cleveland, for the additional information.

Is blue the current Greek practice for the priest's vestments during the Lenten Salutations?
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2008, 04:50:23 PM »

Thanks for all the postings.  In regards to funerals, it seems white or gold is the normal color. Red velvet and black seems to be used by the Antiochian church in Lebanon and Syria. Some have told me that this is due to a Russian influence (for a while in the 19th century, Russians used black for funerals) while others say it is a Catholic influence (from the Maronite and Melkites, as well as Latins) who used black for funerals until Vatican 2. Red is the color for martyrs. This may be the reason for its use in some funerals.

Many Antiochian parishes seem to wear purple vestments on Sundays of Lent (rather than the gold or red that is worn for the veneration of the cross) because, as one priest emailed me "the bishop told me so and since few come to weekday services, this is the only way they will know we are in lent!"

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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2008, 05:06:40 PM »

Thanks for all the postings.  In regards to funerals, it seems white or gold is the normal color. Red velvet and black seems to be used by the Antiochian church in Lebanon and Syria. Some have told me that this is due to a Russian influence (for a while in the 19th century, Russians used black for funerals) while others say it is a Catholic influence (from the Maronite and Melkites, as well as Latins) who used black for funerals until Vatican 2. Red is the color for martyrs. This may be the reason for its use in some funerals.

Many Antiochian parishes seem to wear purple vestments on Sundays of Lent (rather than the gold or red that is worn for the veneration of the cross) because, as one priest emailed me "the bishop told me so and since few come to weekday services, this is the only way they will know we are in lent!"

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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2008, 05:23:18 PM »

Priests in the Russian Old Orthodox Church wear black and white vestments.
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2008, 05:27:09 PM »

Priests in the Russian Old Orthodox Church wear black and white vestments.

Personally, I never liked the idea of black vestments (not even for Holy Week) - all the other colors are more majestic and don't have the connotation of death; heck, even the purple we use in Lent has Royal meaning (Purple was the Emperor's color, and easily the most expensive of the dyes "back in the day" because it was the rarest and most difficult to make).  I've just never warmed to the idea of decking the Church or the priests out in black vestments.
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2008, 09:59:31 PM »

Priests in the Russian Old Orthodox Church wear black and white vestments.


Hello Brother if i may ask what is a old russian orthodox church....are they with the russian orthodox patriarchate or are they independed...just curious.......stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2008, 10:33:06 PM »


Hello Brother if i may ask what is a old russian orthodox church....are they with the russian orthodox patriarchate or are they independed...just curious.......stasko/stanislav

The Old Believer Church in Erie, PA is part of ROCOR, which is in Communion with Moscow.
I don't think any other Old Believer communities in the USA are in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate.
This would all be the realm of another thread.
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« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2008, 10:38:36 PM »

Reply to serb1389, Reply #3,

I have read, over a decade ago, in "Orthodox Tradition, published by the Center For Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, in Etna, California, that black is not appropriate in Greek practice, except for Holy Table clothes or other places cloths may be used in the church, on Great Friday, (during the day, i.e. Royal Hours and during the Unnailing Service).  I don't recall whether the article commented on the color of the priest's vestments.

By the way, you (all) know that colors are a later part of the Second Millennium development; they were never traditionally prescribed.  Correct?

An aside; only last year did I become aware that in Greece, and apparently in Greek practice in the US, blue is the common color for vestments at the Salutations to the Theotokos Service; one of her colors.  Previously, I thought the purple for Great Lent was the standard for this service.  Any comments on this? I'm sorry if it appears I'm changing the topic.  I do not mean to do that.

TO answer your first part, I seem to remember that at seminary we did NOT use black at all during lent.  I saw a couple of priests take out black vestments and there were definitely some murmerings, so I believe there is some kind of tradition.  Nothing I can substantiate with primary texts though. (at least not right now). 

The colors changed throughout the centuries.  You can't really pin point it.  As far as I remember from Liturgics the cycle was 5th c., 8th c, 11th-12th c, and then after that it gets fuzzy.  Those are the times there were major changes in the colors.  They didn't get systematized until Gerasimos (I forget his name) came out with his full explanation of the Liturgy.  Then Cabasillas did it, and others.  So that is where those periods come from. 

This is what I remember offhand.  I could send you the notes if you want them.  Just PM me your e-mail. 
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« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2008, 10:59:06 PM »

The Old Believer Church in Erie, PA is part of ROCOR, which is in Communion with Moscow.
I don't think any other Old Believer communities in the USA are in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate.
This would all be the realm of another thread.



Thank you for your answer....stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2008, 11:04:41 PM »

TO answer your first part, I seem to remember that at seminary we did NOT use black at all during lent.  I saw a couple of priests take out black vestments and there were definitely some murmerings, so I believe there is some kind of tradition.  Nothing I can substantiate with primary texts though. (at least not right now). 

IIRC, the priests I saw at school with black vestments were Antiochians.  In fact, I think Fr. Burke was the only one I saw.
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2008, 11:09:11 PM »

TO answer your first part, I seem to remember that at seminary we did NOT use black at all during lent.  I saw a couple of priests take out black vestments and there were definitely some murmerings, so I believe there is some kind of tradition.  Nothing I can substantiate with primary texts though. (at least not right now). 

The colors changed throughout the centuries.  You can't really pin point it.  As far as I remember from Liturgics the cycle was 5th c., 8th c, 11th-12th c, and then after that it gets fuzzy.  Those are the times there were major changes in the colors.  They didn't get systematized until Gerasimos (I forget his name) came out with his full explanation of the Liturgy.  Then Cabasillas did it, and others.  So that is where those periods come from. 

This is what I remember offhand.  I could send you the notes if you want them.  Just PM me your e-mail. 




Hello Brate srbine 1389 moze da nisi meni oprostijo moju gresku tebi ...zato nisi se odgovorijo na moje pitanje tebi....ja sam mislijo ...da na oproscanje nedelju mi trebamo svakome da  oprostimo da  Gospod oprosti nama....stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2008, 11:10:22 PM »

There was 1 Greek priest (from Greece) who wore black vestments during lent last year, at a parish in the area, that I helped chant at.  He also wore them at school.  

Just letting you know that was what I was thinking of.  
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2008, 11:12:07 PM »




Hello Brate srbine 1389 moze da nisi meni oprostijo moju gresku tebi ...zato nisi se odgovorijo na moje pitanje tebi....ja sam mislijo ...da na oproscanje nedelju me trebamo svakome da  oprostimo da  Gospod oprosti nama....stasko/stanislav

Jao brate!  Oprosti MENE!  Samo nisam razumeo pitanje...zato nisam odgovorijo.  Ako mozes na drugome nacinu da me pitas...bas mi nije bilo jasno. 

Also, it is better if you need to talk to me in serbian to PM me, as this is a public thread. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2008, 11:25:48 PM »

Jao brate!  Oprosti MENE!  Samo nisam razumeo pitanje...zato nisam odgovorijo.  Ako mozes na drugome nacinu da me pitas...bas mi nije bilo jasno. 

Also, it is better if you need to talk to me in serbian to PM me, as this is a public thread. 



thank you Brate i don't know all the words u nas jezik za pitanje ...samo na engeleski znam to write what i want to say or ask.....but ill try ill pm you later  hvala brate.....stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2008, 12:14:39 AM »

The photo's from a link to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad's website, I think it was actually to the Holy Trinity Monastery, offerred under the topic of the blessed repose of Metropolitan Laurus, of Thrice Blessed Memory, shows His Eminence wearing what appears as vestments with a black background with silver accents, during the celebration of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.  The priests and deacons appear to be wearing black vestments, also with silver accents.  Are these colors the standard, traditional practice in Slavic Churches?  I've never seen these colored vestments in Greek practice.
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« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2008, 12:52:58 AM »

The photo's from a link to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad's website, I think it was actually to the Holy Trinity Monastery, offerred under the topic of the blessed repose of Metropolitan Laurus, of Thrice Blessed Memory, shows His Eminence wearing what appears as vestments with a black background with silver accents, during the celebration of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.  The priests and deacons appear to be wearing black vestments, also with silver accents.  Are these colors the standard, traditional practice in Slavic Churches?  I've never seen these colored vestments in Greek practice.

i think they must be iv see these also in the serbian church....also at the funeral of mom and dad.......
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« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2008, 01:29:47 AM »

The photo's from a link
Can you provide us with the link so that we can see what you are referring to?
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« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2008, 01:36:50 AM »

I've never seen these colored vestments in Greek practice. 

I've never seen a Greek priest wearing black vestments, either.
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« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2008, 03:03:41 AM »

Black vestments (Met. Laurus's last Liturgy):

http://www.hts.edu/seminary/news/3mllastliturgy.html

In Slavic practice, Black is often worn on weekdays during Lent - purple saved for the weekends.  Usually only if you have the money to have the whole spectrum of vestments.  Gold is still the default/universal.
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« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2008, 03:44:16 PM »

I've never seen a Greek priest wearing black vestments, either.

I've heard from a source that it's the Patriarchal style to do it on Good Friday....does this count?  Or have you heard of this as well? 
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« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2008, 03:49:10 PM »

  I've never seen these colored vestments in Greek practice.

Both myself and my proistamenos have black/silver vestments. Mine are gifts from a reposed Greek priest, and my proistamenos' vestments were given to him by a bishop in Greece, I believe.

Last Great Lent, I had no purple vestments and so I served throughout Great Lent in the black vestments (I now have another set of purple vestments from a different reposed priest). Last week I served in these 'new to me' purple vestments, but some of my altar boys were saying they were hoping to see my in the black ones of last year: they call them the Oakland Raider set!  Cheesy
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« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2008, 03:55:46 PM »

Nice.  I'm now making deep blue and orange vestments, based on your post.  great going father! 

I just wonder if the ideal here is to present a certain theology or ideology.  But in the end we have to be practical.  As in your case, you only had 1 choice. 
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« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2008, 05:03:29 PM »

they call them the Oakland Raider set!
I know several priest from the Pittsburgh area who own Black and Gold vestments.
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« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2012, 04:09:51 PM »

Thank you Cleveland, as always.  This is valuable information.  However, I would like to know, is blue the current standard in current Greek practice for the Friday evening Lenten Salutations, and, if so, when did it become the practice?

That is what the local parish did this last Friday. Blue surprised me.
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