Confusing vestments of Oriental Catholic Bishops


Due to the current special Middle Eastern Synod of the Catholic Church, I remembered something I've found strange. The non-liturgical vestments of Oriental Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops don't match their Orthodox counterparts.

For example, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch wears a klobuk that most Eastern Orthodox bishops wear. Syriac Catholic Patriarch Joseph III Younan wears a Greek Kamilavkion that Eastern Orthodox priests wear. Here he is sitting next to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, whose vestments are similar to the Coptic Pope.

Usually I'm used to (but shouldn't be) Latinizations like Chaldean and Maronite bishops wearing Latin vestments and mitres, but this is confusing because they use Greek alternatives. Are there other cases where Greek traditions replace Oriental ones?

God Bless.


Pope Benedict's Mass was on EWTN this weekend and I belive Orthodox Catholics were attending. The priests were wearing black vestments with raising pointed black hoods. It was difficult to see their faces.

A Lutheran friend of mine wanted to know why the KKK were invited to the Mass. :mad:


Syriac Catholic bishops also wear Latin mitres, not only the Chaldeans and the Maronites.

Armenian Catholic bishops don’t wear the typical non-liturgical headgear of the Armenian Orthodox bishops, but a klobuk.


The only significant difference between the two patriarchs is the wearing of the kamilavkion by His Beatitude Joseph III Younan and the number of crosses each wears.

Both are wearing the exorasson (outer black robe with red lining) and the Roman cassock, except that the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch wears it in red.


They were Armenian Orthodox wearing the pakegh.


I've been searching through the internet and have found images of Syriac Orthodox priests wearing the kamilavkion.

Here they are: (Malankara Orthodox) (monk on the left hand side beside wall)

and last but certainly not least, photos of the current Syriac Patriarch himself wearing one when he was a young man:

So, is the kamilavkion part of Syriac attire since even the Syriac Orthodox use it as well?


I won’t comment on any of the particular photos except to say that those of Mar Zakka in the last link are quite old, and it’s likely that he was not a bishop at that time.

In any case, I think the operative word here is “priest” whereas the topic of this thread is “bishops.” I’m not an expert on SOC fashion, but to my knowledge, non-monastic SOC priests do not have specific headwear for non-liturgical use. Nor, to my knowledge, do SCC priests. (The Maronite secular clergy most definitely do, but that’s irrelevant to this post.) If mu assumption is correct, it would follow that, if a SOC priest adopted the Greek kamilavkion (or, for that matter, the Roman biretta), it would be more of a personal thing. If it’s not correct, I’d appreciate a link to something official explaining the otherwise.


[quote="griego_catolico, post:5, topic:215799"]
They were Armenian Orthodox wearing the pakegh.


My bad. It is called the veghar.


[quote="bkayw, post:2, topic:215799"]
A Lutheran friend of mine wanted to know why the KKK were invited to the Mass. :mad:


Maybe reminding him that the KKK don't wear black would be a simple place to start.


I think it comes from the Ottoman Empire where in the millet system different clothing was required for each religous group


A comparison of the clerical clothing between the bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church:

Syriac Catholic bishops
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Syriac Orthodox bishops
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Both groups wear the red button cassock, but the Syriac Orthodox patriarch and bishops wear an outer cassock over it. Several of the Syriac Catholic bishops are lacking the outer cassock.
As for headgear, the Syriac Catholic patriarch and bishops need to replace the kamilavkion and zucchettos with the koob'uono (turban).


A comparison of the clerical clothing between the bishops of the Armenian Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church:

Armenian Catholic bishops
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Armenian Apostolic bishops
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A very noticeable difference between the two groups is the lack of the veghar (pointed hood) among the Armenian Catholic bishops. However, some of the Armenian Catholic bishops have begun wearing the purple-lined Armenian cassock---although a few still wear the Roman cassock with the red-lined Syriac outer cassock.

Credit must be given to His Beatitude Nerses Petros XIX Tarmouni whose clerical clothing is almost exactly like his Armenian Apostolic counterparts, with the exception of the klobuk. Here he is with Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Aram I:

Still, it is a welcome change from the clothing of his recent predecessors, who would wear the Roman cassock with zucchetto, then wear over it a Syriac cassock and top it off with a red klobuk! Larger photo

I hope one day to see the veghar being worn among the Armenian Catholic clergy.


A comparison of the clerical clothing between the bishops of the Coptic Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church:

Coptic Catholic bishops
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Coptic Orthodox bishops

One can easily mistake the Coptic Catholic bishops for Byzantine bishops based on the wearing of klobuks and engolpions. The Coptic Orthodox bishops wear the Coptic emma and Coptic cross.

The use of the klobuk by the Coptic Catholic hierarchy appears to go as far back as the first Coptic Catholic patriarch:

Some Coptic Catholic patriarchs would wear the Roman cassock with red fascia with the Syriac outer cassock or, if becoming cardinal, would wear them in red:

Very different from the clerical clothing of a Coptic Orthodox pope:


Maybe Rome doesn’t want the Coptic Catholics thinking that they have a Pope… :wink:


A comparison of the clerical clothing between the bishops of the Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church and the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church:

Ethiopian Catholic bishops (those wearing the red-purple Qob)

Ethiopian Orthodox bishops
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The late Ethiopian Orthodox Catholicos, Paulos I, (center) with the Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop, Abune Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, CM (right).
Larger image:

The differences are quite apparent with the Ethiopian Catholic hierarchy wearing Roman cassocks, fascias, and shoulder capes.


Are the Syro-Malankara the only Oriental Catholic tradition that shares the same clerical dress with their orthodox counterpart?


Although it’s not exactly identical (e.g. Roman-style cassocks), that’s a “yes”, but there are reasons. As has already been mentioned, the Arab & Ottoman overlords in he Middle East required some differentiation. The Maronites and Chaldeans seem to have been able to keep the differences to a minimum (at least that was so way back when), and the only ones that seem to have escaped entirely are the Melkites. I’d venture a guess that the Ottomans were confused at first when the Melkites came into union with Rome (and why not? the Melkites themselves were, apparently confused, too, else the AOC would not have sprung up but that’s another matter) since it involved (originally, at least) the entire Patriarchate. By the time it became clear that there were **two **Byzantine Patriarchates, it was too late to impose the differentiation.


[quote="Sophronius, post:16, topic:215799"]
Are the Syro-Malankara the only Oriental Catholic tradition that shares the same clerical dress with their orthodox counterpart?


[quote="malphono, post:17, topic:215799"]
Although it's not exactly identical (e.g. Roman-style cassocks), that's a "yes"...


Here is the hierarchy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in Rome wearing Roman-style cassocks:

BUT WAIT, here is a **Syro-Malankara Orthodox **bishop who is also wearing a Roman-style cassock:

Ordinarily, clergy from both Churches use the light colored cassocks:
Syro-Malankara Orthodox:

Syro-Malankara Catholic:

I would hazard a guess to say that the Roman-style cassocks are worn generally when outside of India.
Aside from that, the clerical clothing of each Church is virtually identical, even that of their respective Catholicoi:

The only difference that I have been able to find is this interesting mitre and vestment worn by the Malankara Orthodox Catholicos:


God Bless the Malankara Church! They and the Melkites are an inspiration!


A photo from last year of the three Armenian Catholicoi with the president of Armenia:

Kudos to the Armenian Catholic Catholicos for dressing more like his Apostolic counterparts. The only issue remains the use of the klobuk instead of the veghar.

The veghar is inspired by the pointed domes of Etchmiadzin Cathedral.

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