What is the significance of the color green in the Church's vestments and hangings at this time of year?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
While I was sitting in church this morning waiting for Mass to begin, I looked around and noticed all the green hangings on the walls. When the priest came out, he was dressed in green. What does this color signify? Who introduced the various colors into the yearly calendar?
-- Pamela Long (email@example.com), May 27, 2002
Hope this answers your question, and a little more than you asked for! :) MaryLu
In the Old Testament, God not only regulated the details of divine worship, but He also prescribed the type of dress to be worn by the priests in the performance of their priestly office. "You must make sacred vestments for your brother Aaron to consecrate him to serve as priest to me. The following are the vestments you must make: a pouch or breastpiece, an apron, a robe, a brocaded tunic, a mitre and a girdle, and they must use gold, violet, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen." (Exodus 28).
In the New Testament no such regulations were laid down. Jesus recalled the life of Paradise when He said, "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body what you shall put on." (Matthew 6:25) Perhaps for this reason, the early Church chose the chasuble of the peasant instead of the toga of the free Roman citizen. However from the early Christian centuries, Jesus Himself is clothed in tunic or toga or pallium, never in a chasuble.
The vestments of the Christian Church were developed from articles of dress worn in the Roman empire; the basic forms were inspired by classical Greek attire. Archeology shows that ecclesiastical apparel from the first century onward follows the Greco-Roman pattern and manner of wearing the tunic and the mantle.
The Alb The alb is a sack-like, full-length white tunic usually made of linen, with long sleeves, secured at the waist by a white linen, silk or cotton cord. Albs were originally plain, but about the 10th century, the custom arose of ornamenting the hem and cuffs with embroidery, and this became common in the 12th century. Such ornamentation at first encircled the whole hem and cuff, but soon it became customary to substitute rectangular patches of embroidery or fabric. Albs are worn by anyone who is involved in the Mass in the surroundings of the Sanctuary (Priest, Deacon, Altar Servers, Choir, etc.)
The Chasuble The Chasuble, the outermost Eucharistic vestment, worn over alb, amice and stole, is the distinctive garment of the Priest. Ornamentation was the first element that began to alter the appearance of the chasuble. In order to strengthen the single front seam, it was covered by a band; the neck opening was also strengthened and a transverse band became common. This "T" led to the placing of crosses on the chasuble. The medieval custom was to add side bands to the central column, forming a "Y" or fork. This is typical of chasubles from 13th to 16th centuries. As the sides of the chasuble came to be cut down in later centuries, the "Y" was squared off to form the Latin cross, which was transferred to the back of the vestment to symbolize the carrying of the Cross. Today there is no requirement for placing a cross or any other decoration on the chasuble, however.
The Priest's/Bishop's Stole The Stole is the sign of the authority of the Priesthood of Christ. It symbolizes immortality and reminds the priest of how sweet it is to serve Jesus. While putting on the stole, the priest may say, "Give me, O, Lord, the help to be able to come to You in heaven." He kisses the cross on the center back of the stole as he places it over his head and around the back of his neck.
The stole is a band of silk or other fine fabric eight feet long and four inches wide, marked in the center with a cross. If the stole is worn over the alb and under the chasuble, the ends are worn loose. Bishops always wear the stole over the chasuble with the ends of the stole hanging loose. A stole is worn when a cleric is exercising his order in celebration of Mass or in administering a sacrament such as Penance (Confession) or the Sacrament of the Sick.
The Deacon's Stole A deacon wears a stole from the left shoulder to his right side, attached at the hip level with a chain or tie. He wears the stole over the alb and under the dalmatic when he is assisting at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, when he preaches the Word of God or when he assists at weddings. He can wear the stole over the alb when he is baptizing or when he is preparing to wear the cope for Exposition and/or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Amice An Amice is a rectangular vestment made of white linen and measuring 36" x 24" with two 36" strings of twill tape. It is worn under the alb, covering the neck and shoulders of the priest and/or of the deacon at Mass. Originally, it was a neckcloth to protect the valuable chasuble and stole. Also, it is known that the amice was at one time a head covering for priests and monks in cold monasteries. In legend, it is the helmet worn by the priest going forth to do battle for his people. The amice is no longer obligatory if the alb covers the neck.
While putting on the amice, the priest may pray, "Lord, give me strength to conquer the temptations of the devil."
The Dalmatic The Dalmatic is a more elaborate tunic with color and fabric the same as the vestments of the celebrating priest. The form has remained identical to the original with open sides, wide sleeves with bands about bands the cuffs and colored bands descending from the shoulders. As in early Christian times, it is worn without cincture or girdle. The dalmatic became the distinctive garment of the deacons of the city of Rome during the 5th century and it is retained as the diaconal vestment.
The Cope The Cope is a mantle reaching the heels of the wearer and worn when the chasuble is not used. The use of the cope as a liturgical vestment can be traced to the end of the 8th century. By the 13th century, the cope as an ornamental, colored garment of finer material had supplanted the chasuble in all non-Eucharistic functions. It is worn by priests and deacons.
Humeral Veil The Humeral Veil is worn so as to cover the back and shoulders (where it gets its name) and its two ends hang down in front. To prevent its falling from the shoulders, it is fastened across the chest with clasps or ribbons attached to the border.
The Humeral Veil is worn by the priest or deacon in processions of the Blessed Sacrament, in giving Benediction, in carrying the Host to its repository on Holy Thursday, and bringing it back to the altar on Good Friday. In processions of the Blessed Sacrament and at Benediction given with the monstrance, only the hands are placed under the humeral veil; in other cases, it covers the sacred vessel which contains the Host. The Humeral Veil is usually and properly some shade of white (from ivory to white is acceptable).
Vestment Colors The colors of the vestments necessary for a full set of Ecclesiastical Vestments are the following:
White is the symbol of purity and is used at the following offices and Masses:
1. Christmas season, Easter season other than those concerning the Lord's passion 2. Feasts and memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary 3. Feasts of the Angels 4. Feasts of the Saints who were not martyrs 5. Feast of All Saints (Nov. 1) 6. Feast of Saint John the Baptist (June 24) 7. Feast of Saint John the Evangelist (Dec. 27) 8. Feast of Saint Peter's Chair (Feb. 22) 9. Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (Jan. 25)
Red is the symbol of fire and blood and is used for the following offices and Masses:
1. Passion Sunday 2. Good Friday 3. Pentecost 4. Commemorations of the Lord's passion 5. Commemorations of the martyrdoms of the apostles the evangelists and other martyrs
Green is the symbol of hope in Christ and is used in the following offices and Masses:
1. Those times (ordinary time) of the year which are not particular seasons.
Purple is the symbol of repentance and is used in the following offices and Masses:
1. Penitential seasons of Lent and Advent 2. Masses for the Dead (optional)
Rose is the symbol of joy and is used on the following Sundays:
1. Gaudete Sunday, third Sunday of Lent 2. Laetare Sunday, fourth Sunday of Advent
Gold is the symbol of special occasions and can be worn on all special occasions such as Easter and Christmas.
Black may be used for the Masses for the Dead, but rarely is.
Portions obtained from PREPARING FOR THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS by Janice Smyth Imprimatur: Msgr. Richard J. Burke Diocese of Arlington September 11, 1985
Book may be ordered from: Our Lady of the Rosary School 904 W. Stephen Foster Avenue
-- MaryLu (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 27, 2002.
Hello, Mary Lu.
Pamela asked one question that was not answered in the good information you supplied: "Who introduced the various colors into the yearly calendar?"
I think that the answer is partially obscured by the mists of time, but at least I was able to find the following in the old Catholic Encyclopedia (c. 1913):
Pope "Benedict XIV ('De Sacro Sacrificio Missę' I, VIII, n. 16) says that up to the fourth century white was the only liturgical color in use. Other colors were introduced soon afterwards. [Pope] Innocent III (d. 1216) is among the first to emphasize a distinction. He mentions four principal colours, white, red, green, black ... as of general use, and one, [namely] violet, as occasionally employed. This latter was regularly used from the thirteenth century. An 'Ordo Romanus' of the fourteenth century enumerates five [colors]. Between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries blue and yellow were common, but [now] they may not be used without very special authorization (Cong. of Rites, Sept., 1837)."
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), May 27, 2002.
Thank you, John, can always 'depend' on you for accurate information. MaryLu :)
-- MaryLu (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 27, 2002.
I found this website after watching the movie, "The Third Miracle". In the last scene, the priest was leaving the church with a group of girls who had just participated in a communion service, and he was wearing a spring green vestment.
I was curious about the color and tried to figure it out for myself. The only thing I could think of was "green for growth". I was partially correct.
This is a very interesting site, even though I am not Catholic. My duaghters' in-laws are, however, and I enjoy learning about people.
Another interesting site:
-- Betty Van Slyke (email@example.com), December 27, 2002.