The priestly vestments. I thought it might be interesting in the next several weeks to do a bit of an exploration on the stuff clergy wear - an explanation if you will, of why we wear what we do. The first item that goes on over the cassock is called a sticharion, usually a white garment, but in the Russian practice we use all the liturgical colors as well - you’ll see me in all gold or red some days, depending on the season. This is also the name of the vestment worn by readers, subdeacons, and deacons, though theirs are almost always in the liturgical color of the day. The next item to go on is the epitrachelion, which literally means “around the neck,” and symbolizes the priesthood - we wear them whenever we’re serving as a priest, with the cuffs as in Vespers and Matins, but more frequently with the other vestments in the Divine Liturgy; we also put this on if we’re not serving but plan to partake in Holy Communion. The zone or belt represents girding oneself with truth and chastity, as well as the towel Christ used to wash the feet of the Disciples. The cuffs, called the epimanikia, “upon the sleeves,'' go on next, right then left, representing Christ’s binding through His passion, and that the priest works not through his own merit, but God’s grace. Next is the nabedrennik “thigh shield,” which looks sort of like a liturgical mudflap and is the first award given to priests to mark long and dedicated service to the Church - it’s unique to our Russian tradition, as the Greeks don’t wear them. The palitsa “club”/ epigonation “over the knee” is the diamond-shaped award that Fr. Iggy hasn’t been given yet - when it’s awarded, it goes on the right, and the nabedrennik switches over to the left. The phelonion/ phelon is the outermost vestment - a sort of a cape that indicates a major liturgical function. Finally, the pectoral cross (from the Latin pectoralis - “of the chest”) marks the priest as apart from deacons and unordained monastics; in the Russian practice, all priests wear this, whereas in the Greek tradition it is an award for faithful service. The back of the cross has St. Paul’s reminder to Timothy “Be thou an example to the believers in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (4:12).” So there you have it - please feel free to ask about the vestments, and listen to the vesting prayers!