The term “robe” is often misapplied, especially with respect to clerical vestments. More aptly, the term would be vestment; but all the same, there are other garments worn by priests and acolytes that are not vestments, nor are they robes.
Therefore, let this short guide suffice to clear up some confusion regarding men’s clergy robes and other garments that are commonly worn by ordained clerics.
● Alb –
An alb is a plain white linen or cotton garment with white sleeves; it reaches to the ankle. Anyone that takes a position of leadership during worship may wear an alb (typically girt with a cincture) but only an ordained cleric can wear an alb with a stole.
● Cassock (also Soutane) –
The Cassock is a plain garment with long sleeves that reaches to the ankles, typically colored black but there are other variations. They are common in Anglican and Roman churches; if double-breasted, they are called Anglican, if buttoned, they are called Roman.
● Chasuble –
The chasuble is sort of like a mantle; it is round or semi-circular, has a hole in the middle for the wearer’s head, and reaches about to the wrists. Celebrants involved in Eucharistic services may wear chasubles.
● Cincture –
A cincture is like a belt, often worn with a cassock but also common with the alb.
● Chimere –
A chimere is a loose sleeveless robe, common in Anglican churches, that can be worn over the rochet.
● Clerical Collar –
Clerical collars, which can be either full-banded collars or tab collars, are a style of collar common in clergy shirts and often worn by ordained clerics. The collar symbolizes the subservience to God of the ordained man.
● Clergy Shirt –
Clergy shirts (often denoted by their banded or tab collars) are the style of shirt often worn by clerics, sometimes under a preaching jacket. These are not vestments and so should not be called robes.
● Mitre –
The mitre is a tall, pointed headdress that today is commonly only worn by bishops.
● Robe –
Clergy robe is a term that is often misapplied to clerical garments. Robes are not proper vestments but are still commonly worn during church services. There are two types of men’s clergy robes commonly encountered during worship ceremonies;
choir robes and clergy robes. Choir robes are used to create a “uniformed” appearance among the choristers; although, for these purposes, sometimes surplices are worn instead. Clergy robes, proper, are worn to connote academic authority and are worn by ordained clerics only, not lay members of the congregation. Often they are ornately decorated with Christian symbols.
● Rochet –
The rochet is a white garment, typically of linen or cotton, commonly worn as a part of choir dress. It is similar to the surplice but has narrower sleeves.
● Stole (also Tippet) –
The stole is a long, narrow garment with long ends that is worn draped over the wearer’s shoulders so that the ends hang down over the chest, reaching to the knees. The stole is usually worn over the other clerical garments and can mark the office of the wearer.
● Surplice –
The surplice is a white linen or cotton garment with a wide neck and sleeves that reaches to the knees. It is commonly worn as a part of choir dress, or by acolytes or altar servers.
Looking for a Wide Selection of Men’s Clergy Robes Available Online?
Visit Divinity Clergy Wear online at DivinityClergyWear.com or visit them in their showroom in Hamilton, New Jersey, about halfway between New York and Philadelphia.
They carry a wide range of different men’s clergy robes and other clerical accessories, including but not limited to crosses and cords, clergy shirts, clergy jackets, and even preaching dresses for the ladies.
Take a look through their online collection and get in touch with them at 609-838-7154 if you want to learn more.