Liturgical Vestments of the Clergy (Vol III, Ch 5)

From Michael Ruse:

If you are interested in fashion and liturgy, know something about either or know nothing about it at all, then come and join us this Saturday evening at 4:00pm. 

Metropolitan Hilarion explains, “The apostolic Church did not have special vestments for sacred serving … everyday clothing came to be treated as sacred.” How do objects come to be treated as sacred?  

In this chapter, he continues with this kind of question and he discusses the origins of liturgical vestments that became sacred in the Greek and Russian traditions. That may be easy enough to understand. But why would it be inappropriate for the Orthodox today to change their liturgical vestments to everyday clothing in the spirit of the early Church or as other Christian communities do? It is important to know that sacred significance and symbolism of liturgical vestments took root in the early centuries of the Church. 

In the East, we see the phelonion and omophorion become more widespread in liturgy and in icons and mosaics of the saints more than in the West. Although Russian liturgical vestments have a lot of influence from the Byzantine tradition, there were developments – like the sable mitre-caps for patriarchs – that were specifically Russian in adaptation to culture and climate. 

Metropolitan Hilarion discusses these main vestments in more detail: sticharion, orarion, epitrachelion, omophorion, sakkos, turban/mitre, and staff as well as a section about the color scheme of vestments.