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Author Topic: Bishop's Crowns  (Read 3214 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: September 06, 2008, 01:34:01 PM »

Why do our bishops wear crowns during the services? I'm assuming it's a carry-over from the days of the Byzantine empire, but it seems very far removed from the attire I'd imagine of the 1st century bishops. Is it really necessary? Couldn't it contribute to an attitude of pride? I've heard such concerns from other Orthodox Christians...
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2008, 02:04:41 PM »

Why do our bishops wear crowns during the services? I'm assuming it's a carry-over from the days of the Byzantine empire, but it seems very far removed from the attire I'd imagine of the 1st century bishops. Is it really necessary? Couldn't it contribute to an attitude of pride? I've heard such concerns from other Orthodox Christians...

Yes, the mitre that Orthodox bishops wear today is similar to what the Byzantine emperors wore.  I imagine there may have been a few bishops over the centuries who felt prideful when they wore a mitre, but really anything can contribute to an attitude of pride, even just wearing a nice dress or suit to Church could lead to pride.  It is up to us to not let such thoughts of pride enter our minds.  We ultimately can't discard of Orthodox traditions because a few bishops have felt prideful by wearing a mitre.  Maybe a better thing to focus on and remember is all the bishops who have worn mitres and become very humble saints Smiley.  I think a bishop who is truly humble, when he puts on the mitre and all his other vestments, realizes the great responsibility for preserving the Truth that he has as a bishop, and ultimately sees himself as a servant of Christ and His flock, making sure to do his best that all those under his omophor obtain salvation.   
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2008, 02:54:47 PM »

not that I'm anything close to one or would like to be, but, if I was in the place of a bishop, I think I'd feel rather odd at having this heavy crown thing on my head! I mean, perhaps it was meant as a way to humble the bishop, as it's heavy, and ridiculously over-sized. Who knows?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2008, 04:10:14 PM »

An excellent book on the development of vestments of the Orthodox clergy was written by Archbishop Chysostomos of Etna, the American Exarch of the Greek Synod in Resistance (Old Calendar---traditionalists), when he was a priest.

It's my understanding that when the Ottoman Turks granted the church civil responsibilities (after the fall of Constantinople) for the "Rum Millet," (sp), the nation, making the clergy ethnarks, in addition to their spiritual responsibilities, the clergy took on the regalia of the defunct Byzantine Court.  That is why the Bishop's Throne is on the solea in the churches which follow Greek practice, rather than the "synthronon," behind the Altar, where it traditionally belonged.
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 11:33:33 AM »

I believe that the practice of wearing the miter (and the sakkos) was introduced into the Greek Church soon after the fall in 1453. The Patriarch was made the leader of the Rum-Milet and as such began to wear the miter and sakkos, traditionally imperial garments, in order to comfort the people in their affliction, in other words "We might not have an emperor any longer but we do have a Patriarch".
I unfortunately have no documentation to back this up.
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2008, 04:44:55 PM »

^A Bishop's crown represents a crown of Martyrdom - plain and simple.

Icons existed long before the fall of 1453 and Sainted Bishops are depicted with mitres.

Why bring geopolitics into this discussion?
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 05:04:39 PM »

How about during the liturgy a deacon could hold the mitre on a silver platter next to the bishop at all times or canonical discipline to suggest that a bishop would be set in his place. That way we can point out the folly so he can earn it the next time. Rosehip haven't you seen Latin Cardinal Mitres? Maybe the mitres should be snowcap size similar to a yamaka or a smaller hat that would be more humbly suiting?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 05:05:17 PM by alexp4uni » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 05:08:08 PM »

^A Bishop's crown represents a crown of Martyrdom - plain and simple.

Is it?

Quote
Icons existed long before the fall of 1453 and Sainted Bishops are depicted with mitres.

Can you show us a few?

Quote
Why bring geopolitics into this discussion?

If it's wrong, it is certainly a widely-believed idea. I think we even discussed it at seminary. I'll have to consult a book like Orthodox Liturgical Dress to see what the history is.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 05:08:18 PM by Fr. Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 05:08:41 PM »

Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Church has a snow cap like crown.
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2008, 05:09:54 PM »

from wikipedia. Even if you can show that it is wrong, this shows the idea is ubiquitous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitre

Eastern Christianity

The most typical mitre in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches is based on the closed Imperial crown of the late Byzantine Empire. Therefore, it too is ultimately based on the older καμιλαύκιον although it diverged from the secular headdress at a much later date, after it had already undergone further development. It was not used by bishops until after the fall of Constantinople (1453).


The Eastern mitre is made in the shape of a bulbous crown, completely enclosed, and the material is of brocade, damask or cloth of gold. It may also be embroidered, and is often richly decorated with jewels. There are normally four icons attached to the mitre (often of Christ, the Theotokos, John the Baptist and the Cross), which the bishop may kiss before he puts it on. Eastern mitres are usually gold, but other liturgical colours may be used.

The mitre is topped by a cross, either made out of metal and standing upright, or embroidered in cloth and lying flat on the top. In Greek practice, the mitres of all bishops are topped with a standing cross. In the Russian tradition, only archbishops and higher will have the standing cross, all others will have the cross lying flat. Sometimes, instead of the flat cross, the mitre may have an icon on the top.

As an item of Imperial regalia, along with other such items as the sakkos (Imperial dalmatic) and epigonation, the mitre came to signify the temporal authority of bishops (especially that of the Patriarch of Constantinople) within the administration of the Rum millet (i.e., the Christian community) of the Ottoman Empire. The mitre is removed at certain solemn moments during the Divine Liturgy and other services, usually being removed and replaced by the protodeacon.

The use of the mitre is a prerogative of bishops, but it may be awarded to archpriests, protopresbyters and archimandrites. The priestly mitre is not surmounted by a cross, and is awarded at the discretion of a synod of bishops.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 05:11:04 PM by Fr. Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2008, 05:21:05 PM »

^A Bishop's crown represents a crown of Martyrdom - plain and simple.

Is it?

I saw this comment from Liturgix.com

Quote
The miter is a traditional, ceremonial head-dress for bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy. The crown is worn on the head during Divine Liturgy and represents Christ the King. The MITRE (Gr. Mitra) serves as an emblem of power bestowed upon a minister of the Church.

Can you show us a few?

Kings David & Solomon, Emperors Constantine & Justinian.  While the four were not Bishops, the Western Bishops were already wearing headpieces by Pope Gregory's time in the 6th Century.

If it's wrong, it is certainly a widely-believed idea. I think we even discussed it at seminary. I'll have to consult a book like Orthodox Liturgical Dress to see what the history is.

I can't imagine a Hierarch not wearing any kind of crown before 1453.
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 05:26:52 PM »

Oh I know that hierarchs had various forms of headgear but I thought we were talking about the crown mitre and sakkos which were adopted from the emperor, not the idea of wearing some type of headpiece. Perhaps we are talking past each other here. But I do think geopolitics has something to do with it Wink
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2008, 05:34:30 PM »

Oh I know that hierarchs had various forms of headgear but I thought we were talking about the crown mitre and sakkos which were adopted from the emperor, not the idea of wearing some type of headpiece. Perhaps we are talking past each other here. But I do think geopolitics has something to do with it Wink

Father A., we probably did talk past each other.   Wink
I apologize for any misunderstanding although I do feel that a Bishop's Crown is not a geopolitical statement even though geopolitics may have resulted in that innovation.   Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2008, 05:36:12 PM »

Oh I know that hierarchs had various forms of headgear but I thought we were talking about the crown mitre and sakkos which were adopted from the emperor, not the idea of wearing some type of headpiece. Perhaps we are talking past each other here. But I do think geopolitics has something to do with it Wink

Father A., we probably did talk past each other.   Wink
I apologize for any misunderstanding although I do feel that a Bishop's Crown is not a geopolitical statement even though geopolitics may have resulted in that innovation.   Smiley

Well for the record I am glad that it did develop that way as I think they are "cool."
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2008, 10:07:50 AM »

What about the crowns worn by the Coptic Pope, and various ranks of Ethiopian clergy?
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2008, 10:24:06 AM »

Rosehip,

In short it is because our Bishops are the true spiritual kings of the earth as the Holy Bible says in Revelation 5:10: And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Our bishops indeed reign as kings on earth. This is why we should never disrespect our bishops and it may also explain why some secular kings of the middle ages referred to themselves as princes rather than kings.
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2008, 02:23:44 PM »

Rosehip,

Our bishops indeed reign as kings on earth. This is why we should never disrespect our bishops and it may also explain why some secular kings of the middle ages referred to themselves as princes rather than kings.


Its interesting on that quote as usually bishops are referred as the "princes of the Church" as Christ is our Eternal King.

Thomas
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2008, 11:21:22 PM »

In the Armenian Church it's the priests who wear the crowns, while the bishops wear a mitre like the Catholic bishops have.  My priest once said that dates from the time of the Crusades.  Evidently the bishops originally wore the crowns, but when they adopted the mitre worn by Catholics they didn't want to throw out their crowns, so they passed them down to the priests.  That of course would predate the fall of Constantinople.

I always thought the crowns reflected what was going on in heaven.  In Revelations chapter 4, there are 24 elders with crowns on their heads.  They remove the crowns when they fall down and worship God.  The priests in the Armenian Church remove their crowns before the Eucharistic part of the liturgy and put them on the altar.  I don't know.  I just assumed there was a connection and that was why they had the crowns.  I could be wrong, of course.   Smiley

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