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Author Topic: Question on Coptic Vestments  (Read 6469 times) Average Rating: 0
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Deacon Lance
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« on: April 18, 2006, 03:18:39 PM »

I have seen many pictures of Coptic Liturgies where the priest seems to be vested in nothing but a sticharion/alb and satin miter, no stole, no belt, no cuffs, no phelon/cape.  Is this the normal vesture for a Coptic priest at liturgy or simply an option?  Or only only bishops allowed the vesture we Byzantines see as normal for a priest?

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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2006, 06:14:39 PM »

I believe I've asked this question on here before. From what I've seen, some priests will wear a stole, but it's not common, and almost never a phelonion. Even Pope Shenouda, when he was consecrating the new Coptic church here in Houston, only wore an alb and cowl.

They don't seem to vest at all for the Divine Office / raising of incense, either.
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Timos
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 01:39:51 AM »

I know that Coptic clergy also usually don't wear a stole when administering confession although I know of one coptic priest who does because he admits it is the correct thing to do.
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2006, 08:06:28 PM »

Quote
I know that Coptic clergy also usually don't wear a stole when administering confession although I know of one coptic priest who does because he admits it is the correct thing to do.

I guess this is one of those things that really seems odd to those of us in the Western or Byzantine rites. In those rites, the stole is the symbol of priestly authority, and he can do *nothing* as a priest (administer any sacrament, celebrate the divine office, say mass/liturgy) without at least donning a stole. Similarly, a phelonion is required to celebrate Divine Liturgy; in the WR, that's the *only* time a phelonion is worn, and any other time a priest in the BR would wear a phelonion (like at solemn celebrations of the divine office, or in processions) a WR priest would wear a cope -- but never only a plain alb or surplice.
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coptic orthodox boy
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2006, 09:26:14 PM »

Going from RC to the OO community, I found a very common "instrument" amoung the Syrians, Egyptians and Ethiopians was the priest almost always had a hand cross.  Going to the local Carpatho Russ. church, I saw the abseence of this amoung the local priest.  Almost every time I met abouna, and go to kiss his hand, he always offered the cross instead.  Also, after confession, abouna makes a sign over the penitents head with the cross, and the penitent kisses the hand cross after the absolution.  Is this also common amoung other OO and EO communites?
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Salpy
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2006, 09:51:18 PM »

Hand crosses are very commonly held by Armenian priests.  During the Liturgy, for example, when the priest is censing the church, he'll hold a hand cross and the people will kiss it as he goes by.
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006, 10:00:45 PM »

Thanks Salpy, but is it common for Armenian priests to have a hand cross outside liturgical events (say, you see your priest walking down the street)?

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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 12:49:50 AM »

I wonder why the stole is so "forgotten" in the Coptic tradition? When in the western rite the stole is the key (most important) liturgical vestment that must be worn at every liturgical/sacramenal service
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 03:49:01 AM »

This is true among the Chalcedonian Orthodox as well:  the epitrachelion is regarded as the indispensable priestly vestment.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2010, 08:18:56 AM »

The practice of clergy in the British Orthodox Diocese of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate is to wear the alb and mitre for the Raising of Incense and then to add the stole for the Liturgy. On feast days a cape may also be worn. My own bishop, Abba Seraphim, can be seen vested for the Liturgy here...

http://www.abbaseraphim.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/preaching-at-glastonbury.jpg

and at my ordination here ...

http://www.britishorthodox.org/ordination3.jpg

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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 11:20:03 PM »

So I understand that the bishops will 'dress up' more during high feast days.  The question is now why does that appear to involve here a crown-like mitre when to my understanding, only the Pope wears the crown and not the bishops?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-qSqVQyVzA

Two more questions, what do the bishops wear on their heads when celebrating qud'daas 'low key'?  The priests have the Western-looking mitres, and the bishops what?  Simply the monastic qulansawa?  By the way, does the headwear here http://www.abbaseraphim.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/preaching-at-glastonbury.jpg that bishops wear have any place liturgically or is it an aliturgical vestment?
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2011, 11:25:30 PM »

Why does the Father here not wear the priestly mitre? Are the priestly mitres only for secular priests?  Do monk-priests celebrate with only the qulansawa?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUT1PGu4O7A
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2011, 11:28:12 PM »

In those rites, the stole is the symbol of priestly authority, and he can do *nothing* as a priest (administer any sacrament, celebrate the divine office, say mass/liturgy) without at least donning a stole.

Why would the symbol of Priestly authority be necessary to perform Priestly functions for someone who was truly consecrated to the Presbyterate by a legitimate Bishop? Why is it not simply the consecration by the Holy Spirit that is necessary?
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2011, 01:59:11 PM »

Why would the symbol of Priestly authority be necessary to perform Priestly functions for someone who was truly consecrated to the Presbyterate by a legitimate Bishop? Why is it not simply the consecration by the Holy Spirit that is necessary?

Why have vestments at all?
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2011, 04:10:41 PM »

Why would the symbol of Priestly authority be necessary to perform Priestly functions for someone who was truly consecrated to the Presbyterate by a legitimate Bishop? Why is it not simply the consecration by the Holy Spirit that is necessary?

Why have vestments at all?

Because symbols edify the faith by pointing to the Divine Mysteries and in a certain sense manifest them. That does not mean that they do not exist without them.
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2011, 06:51:20 PM »

Would one of our Coptic listmembers please address my questions regarding vestments?  I need the information for an explanation I might have to give on the matter.
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2011, 08:25:08 PM »

So I understand that the bishops will 'dress up' more during high feast days.  The question is now why does that appear to involve here a crown-like mitre when to my understanding, only the Pope wears the crown and not the bishops?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-qSqVQyVzA

The crown in this video is not very commonly seen on Bishops or even Metropolitans.  Usually only the Pope wears it on festive days or when he is consecrating churches.  Bishops only wear them on their diocese welcoming day (during their celebration after they get ordained into a new diocese) or on Easter/Christmas. Most bishops don't even wear it on Easter and Christmas. It is more of a preference (it is pretty heavy). They would wear the same thing Bishop Seraphim is wearing here except the imba (the round hat on top which can be either black, white or gold) is gold.

Two more questions, what do the bishops wear on their heads when celebrating qud'daas 'low key'?  The priests have the Western-looking mitres, and the bishops what?  Simply the monastic qulansawa?  By the way, does the headwear here http://www.abbaseraphim.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/preaching-at-glastonbury.jpg that bishops wear have any place liturgically or is it an aliturgical vestment?
Well when Bishops are praying regular liturgies, they usually wear the qulansan. just that on their heads. other Bishops will wear the white imba on top of the white qulansan. again, it is really a preference. If you see Bishop David (North East), he wears it sometimes and other times he just wears his qulansan.


Why does the Father here not wear the priestly mitre? Are the priestly mitres only for secular priests?  Do monk-priests celebrate with only the qulansawa?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUT1PGu4O7A
Monks that are priests do not have or wear a taylasan (similar to the mitre...i don't like calling it a mitre because they look very different). that is also why Bishops don't have one either. it is just for regular priests.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2011, 10:15:49 PM »

In those rites, the stole is the symbol of priestly authority, and he can do *nothing* as a priest (administer any sacrament, celebrate the divine office, say mass/liturgy) without at least donning a stole.

Why would the symbol of Priestly authority be necessary to perform Priestly functions for someone who was truly consecrated to the Presbyterate by a legitimate Bishop? Why is it not simply the consecration by the Holy Spirit that is necessary?
Because it the authority is given to be exercised as the Church's minister, not a personal possession.  Especially in the case of a priest, who acts only as the delegate of the bishop.
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2011, 10:27:18 PM »

Because the authority is given to be exercised as the Church's minister, not a personal possession.

OK, but the fact that a Priest's or even Bishop's Orders can be revoked by the Church should be evidence enough that his Orders are not a personal possession. I don't see why any more indication than that is needed. Not to suggest that I reject the symbolism of the vestments and their representation of orthodox doctrines. And not to suggest that I think they can be carelessly forgotten or rejected without bringing into question the authority of the Priest. I just don't see why they should be regarded as necessary, such that a Priest cannot legitimately minister the Sacraments even in situations where they are unavailable.

Especially in the case of a priest, who acts only as the delegate of the bishop.

And again, why isn't the Bishop's word confirming the man as his delegate sufficient?
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2011, 12:13:02 AM »

Well...
I have a theory as to why they are rarely used.
I have very little evidence for this so it is mere speculation, but is it possible that they went out of use because of cost? In Egypt most churches are very poor (before they were even poorer), and they probably would not be able to afford the full vestments. So is it possible that little by little their use diminished until it the vestments became what they are today? That could also explain why very few Bishops in Egypt wear the full vestments (so far I have only seen His Holiness wear the full vestments.)

Again it is just a theory.
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« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2011, 12:28:39 AM »

Well...
I have a theory as to why they are rarely used.
I have very little evidence for this so it is mere speculation, but is it possible that they went out of use because of cost? In Egypt most churches are very poor (before they were even poorer), and they probably would not be able to afford the full vestments. So is it possible that little by little their use diminished until it the vestments became what they are today? That could also explain why very few Bishops in Egypt wear the full vestments (so far I have only seen His Holiness wear the full vestments.)

Again it is just a theory.

Sounds like a decent enough theory. I think Father Peter has said something along those lines here before.
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« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2011, 09:32:44 PM »

Well...
I have a theory as to why they are rarely used.
I have very little evidence for this so it is mere speculation, but is it possible that they went out of use because of cost? In Egypt most churches are very poor (before they were even poorer), and they probably would not be able to afford the full vestments. So is it possible that little by little their use diminished until it the vestments became what they are today? That could also explain why very few Bishops in Egypt wear the full vestments (so far I have only seen His Holiness wear the full vestments.)

Again it is just a theory.
I also feel like the full vestments are really just too much. Most Bishops travel all over their diocese and pray in different churches and go to different occasions and such. For them to bring their whole liturgical wardrobe would be a hassle conisdering many do not drive and many Bishops travel around the world to different countries now.

Also, A monk once told me that Bishops wear the simple tonia and qualasan because in the monastery, it is hot (most didn't have air conditioning until recently) and it would be too warm to wear anything more.
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« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2011, 10:24:50 PM »

The practice of clergy in the British Orthodox Diocese of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate is to wear the alb and mitre for the Raising of Incense and then to add the stole for the Liturgy. On feast days a cape may also be worn. My own bishop, Abba Seraphim, can be seen vested for the Liturgy here...

This is interesting. How do priests vests for weddings?

In the Coptic Church I'm used to seeing priests wear the stole without the alb and mitre for weddings, funerals, etc., and some priests wear this for the raising of incense. Most though just wear the black for the raising of incense, and then at the time of vesting they put on the alb and miter, and should also put on the stole, but often do not. It's interesting that the practice for incense seems to be opposite. Just out of curiosity, did this practice predate union with the Coptic Patriarchate?
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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2011, 06:02:52 PM »

Coptic monks almost never show their hair. Bishops used to take off their monastic qulunswa, however, H.H. Pope Shenouda ordered that they wear them once again. Pope Shenouda is a big supporter of the monastic life. He believes that you are a monk for life basically, regardless of whether you are ordained a bishop or not. He is the only patriarch in the history of the church to devote three days of the week strictly for monastic practice. Therefore, even if a bishop is wearing the crown, the qulunswa (the monk's hood is worn under it). His holiness is usually fully dressed at consecrations- I have yet to see otherwise actually. Here, you see a coptic bishop with the qulunswa on, a constant symbol of his monastic vows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiHEtWiU90c&feature=related

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« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2011, 12:35:24 PM »

Going from RC to the OO community, I found a very common "instrument" amoung the Syrians, Egyptians and Ethiopians was the priest almost always had a hand cross.  Going to the local Carpatho Russ. church, I saw the abseence of this amoung the local priest.  Almost every time I met abouna, and go to kiss his hand, he always offered the cross instead.  Also, after confession, abouna makes a sign over the penitents head with the cross, and the penitent kisses the hand cross after the absolution.  Is this also common amoung other OO and EO communites?

In answer to your question the hand cross is used only during the liturgy in the byzantine tradition during absolution in confession the priest will cover your head with his stole and sign you with his hand.
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