Author Topic: Alternate Vesting of Bishops  (Read 633 times)

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Offline Benjamin the Red

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Alternate Vesting of Bishops
« on: June 17, 2012, 02:33:46 PM »
So, I saw this video, along with some others, of Metropolitan Jonah serving just a few weeks ago. In these videos, as you can see, he's vested just like a priest, except that he wore the small omophor, the panagia and the Christ engolpion. He also carried a crozier.

What exactly is the reasoning behind this? Was he serving as a priest? I've only seen a bishop serve as a priest once, but he still wore his full episcopal vestments. I'd be interested to hear from folks that know a lot more about this than me...
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Offline Ionnis

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Re: Alternate Vesting of Bishops
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 04:11:09 PM »
Yes, he was serving as a priest.  This is the first time I've seen a bishop without a sakkos during the Liturgy, but it is acceptable to wear the phelonion and small omophor if he wants to serve the liturgy without all the pomp that comes along with a bishop serving hierarchical liturgy.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 04:12:35 PM by Ionnis »
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Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Re: Alternate Vesting of Bishops
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 04:13:19 PM »
So, I saw this video, along with some others, of Metropolitan Jonah serving just a few weeks ago. In these videos, as you can see, he's vested just like a priest, except that he wore the small omophor, the panagia and the Christ engolpion. He also carried a crozier.

What exactly is the reasoning behind this? Was he serving as a priest? I've only seen a bishop serve as a priest once, but he still wore his full episcopal vestments. I'd be interested to hear from folks that know a lot more about this than me...

This is not unheard of.  My own bishop has been known to do this.

When there are not enough subdeacons, servers, and choristers (or at least not enough who know how to serve the hierarchical services, as often happens when bishops visit small missions in their dioceses which do not have many resources or much experience of the services), a bishop will sometimes forgo the hierarchical services and vest more simply.  He may choose to use the trikiri and dikiri or he may not, and the same goes for the omophor.  I think that the reasoning is that it is better to offer God a simple service done well and with dignity than it is to make a shambles of an elaborate service.  The basic principle: "We should do the best we can with what we have".

Anciently, the phelon in the east or the chasuble in the west (which are the same vestment in origin) was worn by bishops as well as priests.  The sakkos as the distinctive vestment of Byzantine-rite bishops only came later.

(I hope you'll forgive a spot of Sunday evening pedantry. "Alternate" means something used in turn or rotation with something else, such as wearing red socks on a Monday, blue on Tuesday, red on Wednesday, blue on Thursday, and so forth.  Something done instead of something else is an alternative, not alternate.)
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 04:15:07 PM by Subdeacon Michael »
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Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: Alternate Vesting of Bishops
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 05:30:19 PM »
Thanks for the replies thus far. I had just never seen this done before. I actually think it's kind of neat, because it's a glimpse of how things used to look, since, as Sbdcn Michael said, the sakkos is an imperial garment, not an ecclesiastical one, and bishops would've worn the phelon (as can be seen in icons of bishops that lived centuries ago).

(and, fair enough on the correction. I have seen it used in the way I did before, and so I think both are actually acceptable. I know in linguistics, we talk all the time about "alternate" forms of words, meaning a form used instead of a standard form. Still, "alternative" would've been the better word choice)
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Alternate Vesting of Bishops
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 09:30:04 AM »
Over the years, when our diocesan Bishops have been 'in town' at the Cathedral and not 'one the road'  on a 'normal', non-festal Sunday, this has been the regular practice. The term 'hierarchical Divine Liturgy' would imply the pomp and circumstance associated with a pastoral visitation or a feast-day celebration by the Bishop. The first time I saw a Bishop vested the way Met. Jonah was, I thought it odd as I had only seen the Bishop on visitations or special Diocesan celebrations at the Cathedral but that is how it was explained to me.

Offline mike

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Re: Alternate Vesting of Bishops
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 10:16:23 AM »
Bishops also dress like that during St. James Liturgy.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 10:16:35 AM by Michał Kalina »
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