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Author Topic: Another Liturgical Colors Question  (Read 1126 times) Average Rating: 0
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Yurysprudentsiya
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« on: August 11, 2011, 11:24:13 AM »

Why was the sanctuary, i.e., the altar cloths, the curtain behind the iconostasis, etc., yellow for last Sunday's Divine Liturgy?  I know that it was the feast of Saint Markella, but other than that Huh  I know that the Dormition Fast is soon approaching (we are on the old calendar).  Thanks for any insight.
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 11:38:33 AM »

Presumably the curtain was meant to be gold: often yellow is used as a substitute, but on its own yellow is not a liturgical colour. If that is the case then "gold" is your general, all-purpose, "bright" colour used for all Sundays that aren't in any other way special (e.g. Pascha, Theophany, Pentecost, a feast for the Mother of God etc.), and when it isn't a Lenten period.

When it comes to the Feast of Dormition, which happily for you falls on a Sunday this year, the colour will probably be blue, which is the colour used for feasts of the Mother of God.

One thing about Liturgical colours from my own experience is that there are no hard and fast rules, and most parishes will only be able to afford a set of "bright" vestments for normal Sundays and a "dark" set for Lent. They may also have a set of white vestments for Pascha. They may not even have enough for more than one set of colours (so they will usually have "gold". Colours are a tricky thing to get right (I mean the consistency of the colour, not choosing what colour represents what) and this was even more the case in times past before modern-day chemical dyeing processes. As such, most of the "rules" about Liturgical colours are heavily dependent on where they developed, and what dyes were available in those places.  

What colour are the curtains, altar cloths etc.. usually? I'd be surprised if they weren't gold. It may be that coming out of Pascha (white) and then Pentecost (green), the change in colour was more striking.
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2011, 11:56:15 AM »

Why was the sanctuary, i.e., the altar cloths, the curtain behind the iconostasis, etc., yellow for last Sunday's Divine Liturgy?  I know that it was the feast of Saint Markella, but other than that Huh  I know that the Dormition Fast is soon approaching (we are on the old calendar).  Thanks for any insight.

As already said yellow is sometimes used as gold.    Most churches use gold when not using a special (feast day) color.  Some churches named after the Mother of God use blue more often than not.  My question to you is, what color does your church normally use?
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2011, 12:04:55 PM »

This is a good question!  I remember that it was purple during Lent, black on Good Friday, white during the Paschal season, Green at Pentecost, etc.  I'll have to observe more closely because I cannot remember the colors for last fall or Christmastime.  From an old picture I have, it must have been white sometime before Lent, but I don't remember the precise date the picture was taken.
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2011, 12:18:27 PM »


White is often worn for Theophany, which is possibly the "sometime before Lent" you saw white being worn. Nativity used to be part of the Theophany feast, so in some places white might be worn all the way from Christmas to the Nativity. Some churches also use white from Pascha to Ascension, and green all the way from Pentecost to the feast of Ss Peter and Paul: so although gold might be the "normal" colour, it doesn't mean its the most common!

This might help:

http://aggreen.net/vestment/liturgical_colors.html

... but I stress again that in specific parishes Liturgical colours vary a lot, and often due to very mundane, practical reasons (like not owning a blue set of vestments).
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2011, 12:45:25 PM »

In my parish we use:

  • White, including in itself all the colors of the rainbow — is the symbol of God’s uncreated light. White clothes are used on the great feast of Easter (for fifty days after).  Also for funerals.
  • Red (or more appropriately, dark red) is used during Christmas Fast, on the feast day of the Elevation of the Lord’s Cross, and sometimes on the feast days of great martyrs.(we used red for Easter two years ago, people like me, complained)
  • Gold is the color of glory, greatness and virtue. It is assigned to Sundays, as the days of the Lord — the King of Glory; in addition, the Church in golden cloths are used for feast days of His special anointed ones — the prophets, apostles and hierarchal saints.
  • Green is the color of plants and a symbol of new life — it is used on Palm Sunday and throughout the feast of the Holy Trinity (until its end).
  • Blue — is the color of the feast days of the Most Holy Mother of God. It is the color of the sky, and it conforms to the teaching about the Mother of God, who held the Resident of the Heavens in Her Most Pure Body. (since the Mother of God is the patron of our parish, blue us often used)
  • Dark Purple is used at Great Lent.
  • Black for  holy week. It is the symbol of renunciation from worldly strife, it is the color of repentance and strictness to oneself.

We are a very small parish, but all the colors that I listed were donated to us, so we gratefully use them.  My favorite is when the church is green.   
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011, 01:08:28 PM »

Interesting.

As an aside, how common is it for parishes to use the default gold in between Pentecost and Dormition? Our parish practice is to use green from Pentecost all the way through to the Procession of the Cross on Aug 1st, when we vest in red. Then we switch the very next day to blue for the Dormition Fast. The Vigil and Liturgy for Transfiguration is white, and then immediately back to blue.

EDIT: I also once came across orange (or "rust", they were a rather dark shade of orange) vestments, which were apparently for Ss. Peter and Paul. How common is that?
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2011, 01:42:50 PM »


Red?!?  How can you use red in an Orthodox church?

 Wink

One year after I and the parish children finished decorating the church for Christmas, I got a phone call from one of the older ladies yelling at me that the church was too red!

Huh?

When I arrived Saturday evening for Vespers, I was honestly in tears.  75% of the bows and poinsettias had been removed.  The linens were NOT red - just the bows hanging from the candle stands, the poinsettias on the tetrapod, etc.  All that work, all for naught.

Makes everyone eager to help out around the parish. 



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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2011, 01:53:05 PM »

In my experience it seems gold is often used for ordinary times, but my priest uses a rather simple white cotton vestment embroidered with black crosses for his ordinary vestments. On feasts of the Lord he uses gold brocade (the shiny fabric) vestments.

It's kind of nice, because it makes the feasts seem more festive.
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2011, 02:04:01 PM »

Our priests use simple white vestments with gold crosses during "ordinary" times
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2011, 02:15:46 PM »

I love vestment colors. When I was in the Roman Catholic Church, they had started to use flat, felt-like vestments, very plain and looking thin, probably because it's cheaper. When I started attending an Orthodox Church and saw the vestments they used, I said to myself, "Now, that's what it's supposed to be like."  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 02:35:39 PM »


Red?!?  How can you use red in an Orthodox church?

 Wink

One year after I and the parish children finished decorating the church for Christmas, I got a phone call from one of the older ladies yelling at me that the church was too red!

Huh?

When I arrived Saturday evening for Vespers, I was honestly in tears.  75% of the bows and poinsettias had been removed.  The linens were NOT red - just the bows hanging from the candle stands, the poinsettias on the tetrapod, etc.  All that work, all for naught.

Makes everyone eager to help out around the parish. 





Aww. That's sad. I like the red! I look forward to Nativity Fast every year. We're a young parish and so we don't have vestments in all the colors for the analoi. Just gold, white, purple and green. We don't have a full set for the altar, either. The only thing that is always correct is the candlestand on the altar, we have removable votives in all colors. It looks nice, but doesn't have the full effect when the altar and analoi cloths don't match.  Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2011, 08:19:03 PM »

Green can also be used for feasts of prophets and holy fools, as well as Palm Sunday and Pentecost.
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2011, 09:14:24 PM »

Green can also be used for feasts of prophets and holy fools, as well as Palm Sunday and Pentecost.

As well as all "Venerables" (monastic saints).
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2011, 10:17:04 AM »


Just when I think that I have it all figured out, things change.  For years the parish that I attend now, used red cloths and robes darning the Nativity Fast and Gold on the Nativity. This year it is green for the Nativity Fast and white will be used for the Nativity.

Did other parishes change this year?

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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2011, 10:32:23 AM »


Just when I think that I have it all figured out, things change.  For years the parish that I attend now, used red cloths and robes darning the Nativity Fast and Gold on the Nativity. This year it is green for the Nativity Fast and white will be used for the Nativity.

Did other parishes change this year?



Green for the Nativity Fast? Curveball! I've never heard of that before. I believe the most common practice is to use a dark "lenten"-like color for the fast, Slavs tend to use red, some folks actually use purple like during Lent (This is also the RCC practice during their Advent season). Others don't change at all and keep on with gold throughout. But green? Green is typically used for Palm Sunday, Pentecost, and ascetic saints ("venerables", "fools for christ" and the like), so I'm not sure what the logic is in using it for the Nativity Fast. I'd definitely like to learn if other places do this, and why...very interesting!

As far as using gold for Nativity, I've never seen that either, but it does make sense to me. I've often read that gold or white can be used for "Feasts of the Lord", though in practice I've only ever seen white used for such Great Feasts, and gold used for apostles and holy hierarchs (and sometimes as the "default" color in "ordinary time").

Of course, I've also heard that some parishes will use as their default the color for their feast. Is your parish named after the Holy Cross or a martyr? Your default is red. The Mother of God? You're wearing blue in "ordinary time." etc. Though, I've never been to a parish where this is the practice, only heard that it does happen in some places.
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2011, 11:18:35 AM »


Just when I think that I have it all figured out, things change.  For years the parish that I attend now, used red cloths and robes darning the Nativity Fast and Gold on the Nativity. This year it is green for the Nativity Fast and white will be used for the Nativity.

Did other parishes change this year?



Green for the Nativity Fast? Curveball! I've never heard of that before. I believe the most common practice is to use a dark "lenten"-like color for the fast, Slavs tend to use red, some folks actually use purple like during Lent (This is also the RCC practice during their Advent season). Others don't change at all and keep on with gold throughout. But green? Green is typically used for Palm Sunday, Pentecost, and ascetic saints ("venerables", "fools for christ" and the like), so I'm not sure what the logic is in using it for the Nativity Fast. I'd definitely like to learn if other places do this, and why...very interesting!

As far as using gold for Nativity, I've never seen that either, but it does make sense to me. I've often read that gold or white can be used for "Feasts of the Lord", though in practice I've only ever seen white used for such Great Feasts, and gold used for apostles and holy hierarchs (and sometimes as the "default" color in "ordinary time").

Of course, I've also heard that some parishes will use as their default the color for their feast. Is your parish named after the Holy Cross or a martyr? Your default is red. The Mother of God? You're wearing blue in "ordinary time." etc. Though, I've never been to a parish where this is the practice, only heard that it does happen in some places.

The Orthodox Rusyns and associated peoples use purple(some do use red) during Advent and gold for the Nativity through Theophany. Never heard of green. AWR: is your parish in the diocese of NY/NJ or Philadelphia? Would that make a difference? Confusing indeed....
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2011, 12:00:25 PM »


...

The Orthodox Rusyns and associated peoples use purple(some do use red) during Advent and gold for the Nativity through Theophany. Never heard of green. AWR: is your parish in the diocese of NY/NJ or Philadelphia? Would that make a difference? Confusing indeed....

The parish is in the diocese of NY/NJ, but I don't think any of the nearby parishes are green.



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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2011, 02:54:07 PM »

Normal yellow/golden vestments during the fast, white during the feast.
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« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2011, 02:22:15 PM »

I believe the original rubrics for liturgical colors (especially in regards to priests vestments) are either "light" or "dark."  The specific colors we use today came about later (I don't know exactly when.)  In theory, while there are some standard colors we tend to use today (red for Christmas, purple for Lent, etc...), in practice, it often varies based on the discretion of the pastor.  I've seen priests wear red after Pascha, and white on Christmas, for example.  In the end, however, I don't really think the color of the vestment matters too much, unless you're doing something drastic like wearing black on Pascha, for example.  I wouldn't worry too much about minor variations in liturgical color.
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« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2011, 03:33:30 PM »

I don't know if anyone has posted this link at OC.net before, but I think it's appropriate to this thread:

http://badvestments.blogspot.com/

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