Roman stoles( number of products: 2 )
Ecclesiastical finery worn by various members of the clergy during Mass and other religious events are commonly referred to as vestments and are steeped in historical significance and symbolism. Here we will take a look at the origins and meanings behind the roman stole. Visit vestment.co.uk to find liturgical vestments, stoles, and much more—all with beautiful ornate detailing.
What Are They
The Roman stole is a very popular and widespread vestment which is worn by various members of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and protestant clergy alongside other Christian sects. A stole is the long scarf-like piece that is worn around the necks of priests and deacons during service. A band of fabric roughly two to four inches wide and eight feet long. When we talk about roman stoles, we are referring to specific stoles that are designed in the roman styles of the ancient empire, which is where a lot of Christian symbolism originates.
The roman stole, unlike others, does not stay the same width all the way along. The roman stole will taper at the ends into a triangular or spade like shape. Roman stoles also are a lot more adorned than their gothic cousins. They tend to have intricate embroidery and patterns along the length, alongside complex crosses adorned within the triangular ends.
Little is known of the true origins of the stole, although several theories have been suggested. It seems some of the first uses of the stole were seen in the East around the fourth century. It was first seen in the West and Rome around the late eighth and early ninth centuries where it was adopted as a mark of the clergy and its popularity increased across the Roman empire.
The roman stole is worn by deacons, priests, and bishops, and each wears the stole in their own specific way. Deacons will wear the stole as a sash, resting on the left shoulder and falling across the body to the right hand side. A priest will wear the stole similar to a scarf, around the neck with the long ends either coming down straight or crossing over the chest. A bishop will wear the gothic stole in a similar manner to a priest, however they will only wear the stole hanging straight downwards, ensuring it never crosses.
In modern use, the roman stole is worn over the Alb, and under the Chasuble. Whether priests decided to cross the ends over or allow them to hang straight is a decision up to themselves, however the deacons must wear it as a sash. The Pope himself has a papal stole and will wear it occasionally as part of his choir dress. This stole however is grand and heavily decorated, adorned with his personal coat of arms.
The roman stole symbolises the bonds and ropes with which Jesus was bound with during his crucifixion and the events leading up to this - as such it is usually adorned with a cross, cementing this connection.
The stole also denotes the duty of the wearer to spread the word of God.
The colour of the stole represents the current celebration for the liturgical calendar—such as purple for advent and white for Easter—and is decorated with ecclesiastical symbols usually including a cross, although they come in a wide variety of styles and colours. Roman stoles can be embellished with ornate patterns and are often very grand and beautiful garments.
To conclude, the roman stole is a beautiful garment which has adorned masses for hundreds of years. They are amongst some of the most recognizable clothing for clergymen, and so the next time that you go to Mass you will be a lot more informed about the origins of the roman stole, and its long history of use and symbolism in Christian faith.