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History of Clergy Stoles

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A brief history of clergy stoles ... Clergy stoles have always been significant in every church, but no one knows where they came from. Before clergy stoles were introduced by the Roman Catholic Church in 600 AD, ladies wore veils, and gentlemen wore cloaks. The stole was originally a long, narrow strip of cloth worn around the neck and hung down the front.

It was usually made of silk or other fine material and was often embroidered with crosses or other religious symbols. Soon after, the nobility adopted the clergy stoles and added jewels and other precious metals to flaunt their powers to everyone.

CLERGY STOLE DEFINED
According to its modern definition, a clergy stole is a liturgical vestment worn around the neck and hangs down the front. It is usually made of silk or other fine material and is often embroidered with crosses or other religious symbols. The stole signifies the office and dignity of the clergyman who wears it.

Priests and clergy members usually wear it along with several other garments. Priests usually wear this as a symbol of their office and authority when administering the sacraments.

There are several clergy men apparel options available to everyone today than in the past. You can find them in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and designs.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
The English word for stole comes from the Latin word "stola," which means garment. Traditionally, the members of the upper classes wear this as a symbol of their superiority over other people.

According to the Latin Vulgate, it also has specific purposes, such as the robe that the Prodigal Son is supposed to wear when he returns to his father. The term was previously associated with the 'yoke of Christ' but is now more commonly associated with another liturgical garment: the chasuble.

The stole was initially designed as a shawl, and it shrouded the shoulders. It usually falls to the front, as it is today. Back then, women who wear them are frequently perceived as larger.

It evolved into a symbol of dignity after gaining attention and reverence in ancient Rome. It was adopted into contemporary fashion in the seventh century, and the designs became more elaborate while the uses increased versatility. The designs became more ornate, some embellished with precious metals and jewels, and they also became narrower.

ORIGINS OF THE STOLE
Even though the clergy stole has enjoyed a level of reverence and importance in ancient and medieval circles, its origins are still unknown. Some attribute the creation of the stole to the tallit, a Jewish religious mantle draped on tables during special occasions. However, the theory is considerably weaker today than it was back then.

A more widespread belief is that the stole evolved from a liturgical cloth known as an orarium. The orarium was also very similar to the sudarium, another liturgical cloth. This is a probable reason why it is still called the orarium in many other locations.

Most people see the stole as connected to the piece of cloth that Jesus used to wipe the feet of his disciples after washing them, a gesture showing the yoke of service. Interestingly, that was also called the yoke of Christ.

CURRENT SYMBOLISMS
The shackles and cuffs of Jesus worn to him during his Passion are symbolized by the stole, which is commonly shown with a cross. Some might think of the stole as a visual representation of spreading the Good News. Clergy members originally wore the stole with the cincture and the maniple, which no longer exist in modern liturgical clothing.

The church will usually choose the stole colors according to the season or service the church utilizes them.

CURRENT USES
The clergy stole is used in Roman Catholic services, but other religions also use it for various purposes.

PROTESTANT
The stole is commonly seen in Protestant churches as a symbol of sacred ordination and a subtle expression of the Word and Sacrament offices. Typically, the congregation gifts an individual a stole to congratulate them, in the case of pastors and other ministers in the church. The stoles gifted to these people are usually ornate and contain images and symbols that are significant to their denominations.

Protestant clergy members generally wear their stoles similarly to that of Catholic priests. On the other hand, their ends are left uncrossed and thus drape freely down the front of their necks.

ROMAN CATHOLIC
For the Roman Catholic Church, wearing a stole usually adheres to a series of rules and regulations governing liturgical clothing such as stoles. The priesthood follows the Church's requirements, similar to other significant events such as sainthood and clergywomen.

According to Latin Catholicism, stoles are usually worn by those who receive Holy Orders. The ordination of a deacon immediately confers them the exclusive rights to serve the clergy following the suppression done by the Second Vatican Council towards other minor orders, including tonsure.

Bishops wear the stole differently from the others, typically wearing them around their necks. This goes the same for priests. Meanwhile, deacons usually drape their stoles over their left shoulders and cross them across their chest, similar to how they wear a sash.

The priests who were not bishops started wearing a chasuble in place of the stole during Mass and special events, such as funerals and weddings. Otherwise, these men would wear their stoles by crossing them over their chests. This procedure was first used in the early part of the twentieth century.

Currently, many people wear them without them crossing the stole on their chests, letting it drape freely.

CONCLUSION
A Clergy stole's significance varies, but it may represent the nature of life. Typically, it is worn by a clergy member officiating the communion. Additionally, there are numerous ways to wear and use modern stoles today.

They typically vary significantly depending on past practices, the events and occasions, and the purposes why they need to be worn. Knowing the backstory of these religious wraps can assist you in better comprehending how they began in ancient times and evolved into the present day.

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