St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

What the Ministers Wear


Vestments worn by the celebrant at the eucharist typically include a stole and chasuble. These vestments usually reflect the liturgical color of the day or season of the celebration. The celebrant also usually wears an alb and may wear a girdle and amice. The officiant at the Daily Office or other non-eucharistic services may wear a cassock and surplice. A tippet may also be worn. A stole indicates that the wearer is an ordained person. Bishops and priests wear the stole over both shoulders, and deacons typically wear the stole over the left shoulder. Bishops may wear distinctive episcopal vestments, including the rochet and chimere, and the miter. A purple shirt with a clerical collar usually indicates that the wearer is a bishop, and a black shirt with a clerical collar usually indicates that the wearer is a member of the clergy. 

Lay servers, acolytes, lectors, and choir members may also wear vestments at worship. According to local custom, they may wear an alb, or a cassock with surplice or cotta. 


A long white garment with narrow sleeves, which is the basic garment worn by ordained and lay ministers at the eucharist and at other church services. The alb (from Latin alba, meaning white) is derived from the undertunic of the Greeks and Romans of the fourth century. It may be girded at the waist. 



A rectangular piece of white cloth that may serve as a hood or be rolled down to serve as the collar of an alb. The amice is tied beneath the alb by attached strings. Many modern albs have replaced the amice with a collar or an attached hood. 



A long, close-fitting garment with narrow sleeves worn by clergy and other ministers. Cassocks are typically black but also may be blue, gray, or red. Bishops may wear purple cassocks. It may be worn under a surplice. Historically, the cassock was the street garb of a person in clerical orders. It was part of the outdoor dress of Anglican clergy until the beginning of the nineteenth century. 



The sleeveless outer vestment worn by the celebrant at the eucharist. The chasuble and cope are both derived from the outdoor cloak worn by all classes and both sexes in the Greco-Roman world. The chasuble may be oval or oblong, with an opening for the head. It typically reflects the liturgical color of the day. Chasubles vary widely in fabric and style. They may be plain cloth or decorated with orphreys or symbols. The chasuble is also known as a planeta. See Cope. 

The distinctive garments worn by leaders of the church's worship. Many of the church's vestments are descended from the ordinary dress of the imperial Roman society in which the early church came into being. 


A cord or sash that serves as a belt for an alb or cassock. Also called a girdle. 


A ceremonial cloak, semicircular, richly ornamented, with a clasp in front and a hood or hood-like appendage in back, worn over the alb (or rochet) and stole. It is based on the cappa, an outdoor overcoat worn in the Roman empire. The presider wears a cope usually at non-eucharistic liturgies in place of the chasuble. Several Anglican practices dating from the sixteenth century have extended usage of the cope. Presiders sometimes wear a cope at the eucharist during the entrance procession and even during the liturgy of the word. Bishops sometimes wear it when performing episcopal functions such as ordinations and confirmations. Deacons, cantors, and others may also wear a cope since its use is not restricted to bishops and priests. 



A white vestment that typically reaches to the hips. It has a square-yoke neck, and sleeves that are less ample than the surplice. The cotta is a shorter version of the surplice. The cotta is seldom worn today, except by young members of the choir or acolytes. See Surplice. 



The distinctive vestment of deacons in the western church. It may be worn at any liturgy in any season.  The dalmatic was an ample white tunic with wide sleeves, bands about the cuffs, and clavi, or colored bands, descending from the shoulders to the hem. Historically, it was worn over an alb by both bishops and deacons by the fourth century, but it did not become a vestment until around the ninth century. The dalmatic was accepted as the vestment worn by the deacon at the eucharist by the ninth century. Eventually deacons adopted the eastern orarion or stole, worn on top and hanging straight down from the left shoulder. Over the centuries the dalmatic, like other vestments, lost its full shape. The stole disappeared beneath the outer garment. By the late middle ages, deacons (or, more commonly, priests acting as liturgical deacons) were wearing a short dalmatic in the color of the day, ornate in fabric, adorned with orphreys (two vertical and two horizontal), with narrow sleeves, and open at the sides. The dalmatic has varied widely in appearance, and this variety continues in the Episcopal Church today. In many places the medieval dalmatic has given way to a full-length white or off-white tunic which is simple and functional. It is worn sometimes over an alb, sometimes by itself (as a combination cassock-alb-dalmatic). Deacons often wear the stole on top, placed over the left shoulder and tied under the right arm or hanging straight down. 



The gown has  been used in the liturgy. It was worn with bands. Anglican preachers have worn the gown with hood and scarf for the sermon. This use could be seen as a display of academic credentials by the preacher. Some members of the clergy (especially with a low-church piety) wore the gown throughout the service, following the Genevan practice. Liturgical use of the gown continued into the late nineteenth century. E. Clowes Chorley credited the influence of the catholic movement in the Episcopal Church with the gradual substitution of the surplice for the black preaching gown during the nineteenth century.

Preaching Gown 

A long, flowing black garment that may be worn by the preacher with cassock and preaching tabs. It may have full, bell-shaped sleeves, and velvet bands. 



A sleeveless garment that hangs from the shoulders to the ankles. The term is derived from the Latin for "shoulder-blades." The scapular is a wide band of material, usually black, with an opening for the head. It forms part of the regular monastic habit for many religious orders. It is typically worn over a cassock or other similar garment. In some churches, a scapular is worn by servers or members of the choir. 



A full white vestment with wide sleeves. It has an opening for the head at the top and typically reaches to the knees or beyond. The term is from the Latin superpelliceum, meaning "over a fur garment." It was an oversized alb that was worn as a choir vestment over a fur coat in the drafty and cold churches of northern Europe. It is usually worn over a cassock by clergy at non-eucharistic services such as the Daily Office. It may also be worn by lay people with particular liturgical ministries at worship such as lectors or choir members. Acolytes often wear a shorter version of the surplice, a cotta, which reaches to the hips and has narrower sleeves than the surplice. The academic dress of clergy may include cassock, surplice, and tippet, with or without an academic hood. The surplice may be worn with a stole by a member of the clergy assisting at the eucharist or by a member of the clergy who preaches. Surplice and stole may also be worn by a member of the clergy who presides at a eucharist or baptism. However, eucharistic vestments are typically worn by the celebrant at the eucharist instead of surplice and stole. Use of the surplice was a cause of dispute during the nineteenth-century controversies over ritual in the United States and in England. It came to be widely accepted as the standard vestment for Daily Office. 



A large black scarf worn by clergy over surplice and cassock at the Daily Offices. It resembles a stole and is worn around the neck with the ends hanging down the front. It may be ornamented by emblems such as the Episcopal Church seal or the insignia of the wearer's seminary.