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Author Topic: "Athonite vestments"?  (Read 434 times) Average Rating: 0
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Regnare
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« on: April 08, 2014, 07:26:41 PM »

I was watching a video of a Vigil service at Vatopedi monastery on Mt. Athos (at least that's what it looked like; I speak no Greek). I was somewhat surprised to see what looked like Russian vestments on all of the clergy: all the priests had high-backed phelonia, and all the deacons had single oraria, instead of automatically getting double ones regardless of rank. Do all clergy on Mt. Athos wear this style of vestments? Are high-backed phelonia older than low-backed, fitted ones, and if so, when did the change happen?
Another thing I noticed was that some of the priests had stoles that were all of one piece, rather than being divided and buttoned together, which I thought was interesting since that's how Oriental Orthodox stoles look, apart from Ethiopians who seem to have adopted the divided stole as well.
For reference, here's the video from Vatopedi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj7hEEWtj5M
And here's a photograph of priest's vestments made in the "Athonite" style by Kh. Krista West: http://www.kwvestments.com/images_priests_athonite/priests_athonite103.html
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 07:34:56 PM by Regnare » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 07:55:21 PM »

I was watching a video of a Vigil service at Vatopedi monastery on Mt. Athos (at least that's what it looked like; I speak no Greek). I was somewhat surprised to see what looked like Russian vestments on all of the clergy: all the priests had high-backed phelonia, and all the deacons had single oraria, instead of automatically getting double ones regardless of rank. Do all clergy on Mt. Athos wear this style of vestments? Are high-backed phelonia older than low-backed, fitted ones, and if so, when did the change happen?

Don't quote me on this, but I read somewhere that the use of "Russian vestments" in Athonite monasteries had to do, at least in some cases, with the fact that they were gifts from Russia.  The Russians gave what they knew, and the monasteries put them to good use.  Did that inspire an "Athonite" style of vestments somewhere down the line?  It's possible, but I can't say.  I'm not sure, though, that "high-backed phelonia" are older than "low-backed phelonia".  It would be interesting to find out if older icons provide a clue. 

I suspect, though, that some usages are older.  For example, I think the single orarion for deacons (as opposed to the double oraria in use in modern Greek and Arab tradition) is definitely older: it is common to the diaconate in Slavic Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian, and Roman (and other Western) traditions.     

Quote
Another thing I noticed was that some of the priests had stoles that were all of one piece, rather than being divided and buttoned together, which I thought was interesting since that's how Oriental Orthodox stoles look, apart from Ethiopians who seem to have adopted the divided stole as well.

The "one-piece" stole for priests is a predominantly Coptic and West Syriac practice.  Ethiopians may use both forms (I really don't know), and I'm pretty sure I've seen Armenians use both forms (though I'm not sure if one form is more common). 
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 10:51:42 PM »

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I'm not sure, though, that "high-backed phelonia" are older than "low-backed phelonia".  It would be interesting to find out if older icons provide a clue. 

The low-backed phelonion is definitely the older and "universal" type, as amply demonstrated in the iconographic record. Great numbers of sainted bishops as well as priests are shown wearing them, before the introduction of the sakkos for episcopal use.
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2014, 10:54:32 PM »

One other difference I noticed is that Russian phelonia are generally shorter in front, terminating just above the zone, while Athonite high-backed phelonia, like their low-backed Greek counterparts, fall to about the level of the wrists.

Thanks, LBK; I didn't remember seeing any non-Russian icons with saints wearing high-backed phelonia (I'm not sure how you'd wear an omophorion with one anyway), but I'm by no means an expert.
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 12:32:09 AM »

They also have processional umbrellas on Athos like the Ethiopians, but they are a totally different style. I saw them once in a video, and know nothing about them.
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 03:43:11 PM »

One other difference I noticed is that Russian phelonia are generally shorter in front, terminating just above the zone, while Athonite high-backed phelonia, like their low-backed Greek counterparts, fall to about the level of the wrists.
According to the typikon and athonite paradosis ,Ieromonachos should cover their hands by the front piece of Phelon in some points of service.And they also should "put down" and “elevate(fix with buttons )"the e front piece of Phelon in the specified case of service.
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 03:48:21 PM »

They also have processional umbrellas on Athos like the Ethiopians, but they are a totally different style. I saw them once in a video, and know nothing about them.
such umbrella be called "ουράνια(haven)",I think it originally belonged to the Empress of Byzantine.
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2014, 04:44:40 PM »

One other difference I noticed is that Russian phelonia are generally shorter in front, terminating just above the zone, while Athonite high-backed phelonia, like their low-backed Greek counterparts, fall to about the level of the wrists.
According to the typikon and athonite paradosis ,Ieromonachos should cover their hands by the front piece of Phelon in some points of service.And they also should "put down" and “elevate(fix with buttons )"the e front piece of Phelon in the specified case of service.
Thank you for clarifying. Perhaps Russians used to do this too, but eventually decided to just skip the buttons and make it shorter all the time. What parts of the service require the front part to be elevated?
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 07:00:14 PM »

I think that it is related to the moments when the priest has to handle the gifts, but I am not sure. I also wonder if those vestments had strings to tie the Aer to.
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2014, 09:12:29 AM »

One other difference I noticed is that Russian phelonia are generally shorter in front, terminating just above the zone, while Athonite high-backed phelonia, like their low-backed Greek counterparts, fall to about the level of the wrists.
According to the typikon and athonite paradosis ,Ieromonachos should cover their hands by the front piece of Phelon in some points of service.And they also should "put down" and “elevate(fix with buttons )"the e front piece of Phelon in the specified case of service.
Thank you for clarifying. Perhaps Russians used to do this too, but eventually decided to just skip the buttons and make it shorter all the time. What parts of the service require the front part to be elevated?
Generally speaking, the priest ‘up’ his phelon when he need to carefully handle the Gifts (during Proskomide;receiving and giving Holy Communion and so on). On some points ,he cover his hands by phelon in order to show a deep fear and awe for example: the priest bring out the Gospel Book with hands coverd by Phelon in the sunday Matins for faithfuls' veneration.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2014, 01:33:08 PM »

Thanks.
Does anyone know why most Orthodox priests aren't required to do this? After all, most Orthodox priests wear the low-backed phelonion, which has the longer front, but as far as I know they have no buttons to lift up the front of it with. Is it only in the typikon which the Athonite monks use?
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