I think I have seen bishops in purple cassocks, or is it black trimmed with red? Or can they choose.

This (Anglican) Bishop (picture click here) is in a pink purple but are there other purples used by bishops - the one in the photo seems quite bright. (Mind you photos on the web aren’t always accurate in color are they.

Anyone guide me through this one?

Bishops (that is, real bishops) have to wear certain exact colors depending upon their particular rank. The names of the colors don’t exactly correspond to the words we use in our everyday vocabulary.

I’ve been looking and looking online for a good source, but can’t find one. All my searches result in online stores for ecclesiastical garments–no sources for information. I know that RJ Toomey (which makes many of the clergy shirts used in the US) has an entire book in their shop describing this sort of thing. It gets complicated.

Suffice to say though, that the colors are specific, and even need to be the correct shade.

Bishops (that is, real bishops) have to wear certain exact colors depending upon their particular rank.

Indeed there are subtle variations in color depending on particular rank. In general, though, I think it’s safe to say that the “full color” variety is considered “choir dress” and is normally worn liturgically and on formal occasions. The black with colored piping, (dating, as I recall, only from the mid-19th century “reforms” of Pius IX) is considered “house dress” and is normally worn at other times. Even so, it, too, is sometimes used liturgically, mainly under an alb. The actual color of the piping reverts to the “subtle variations” of particular rank.

So am I right in thinking the color of the piping for bishops if they wear a black cassock is the same color as the full colored cassock.

I pointed to the picture on a friends (Anglican) blog, because it seemed a very bright purple color. It seems though that that is the color for bishops - but maybe not Eastern Bishops?

While we’re on this subject, is the colored piping on the cassock that a Msgr. wears the same color as that of a bishop?

Possibly but not necessarily. It again depends on the specific rank. So too for the “full color” choir dress.

IIRC *The Church Visible *by James-Charles Noonan found one of the colors so difficult to precisely name/describe it was decided to bind the book in cloth of the appropriate color. :smiley:


It’s in the Ceremonial of Bishops which I do not have on hand. I read this bit just last week. There are 3 different “outfits” for Bishops plus secular clothing. It not only depends upon rank, but also what the occasion is. Bishops are actually supposed to wear a full “purple” cassock going to and from the Church building.

Information on the Msgr.'s garb is in there as well. Perhaps someone else here has it on hand and will copy it for everyone.


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