The Type of Stole Worn by a Deacon?

Most deacons in the Latin Rite seem to wear stoles of this configuration:

Once in a while I will see a stole of this configuration (please forgive fabric if you don’t care for it.) I believe it’s an older design that was more difficult to keep from sliding off one’s shoulders:
Is it also permissible for a deacon in the Latin Rite of the Church to wear a so-called “Saint Andrews stole” as most commonly seen today in the East:
I have never seen a specification for a deacon’s stole and they probably all pretty much looked like the third one if you went back enough years in the Catholic Church. Any information would be appreciated. (Please note I am not asking if the stole is to be worn outside or inside of the dalmatic. Thanks.)

The first is an angle sash stole, most often the one worn here in the states within the Latin Rite.

Second is called a straight sash stole, from my research it appears this one is worn more often in the Episcopal Church. I really like this style but I couldn’t find where it was acceptable in the Latin Rite; I also couldn’t find where it is not acceptable, which is part of the problem.

The third, from what I have found, is called a St. Stephan’s Stole. I believe some of the Orthodox Rites may use these styles. Not real sure about these points. There isn’t much in way of guidelines as to what is acceptable or not.

All the rubrics really dictate is that the stole is to cross the chest from the left shoulder to the right hip. All three fit this requirement.

I would also be interested if any one has any more information on any of these stole types.

I’ve always assumed the difference between #1 and #2 is deacons ranging from 5 feet to 6’6" trying to fit into the same stole!

I’ve never seen #3. At first it has a look of an omophorion (to this ignorant Latin anyways :wink: ), but I can see the difference now :thumbsup:

The first stole is constructed so as to be only usable by a deacon; that is, it can only be worn across the breast, and would not hang correctly if worn around the neck. As noted, it has the advantage that it is easier to keep it in place.

The second is constructed so it may be used by either a deacon or a priest. Although it has hidden attachment that allows it to be worn across the breast, the overall construction is such that it would hang correctly if worn around the neck. If one were making a stole for a transitional deacon or so that a parish could have extra stoles matching the main celebrant’s chasuble that could be used by either a deacon or a priest, then this construction might be chosen instead of the first one, because the same stole could serve different clergy, as needed, rather than constructing separate extra stoles for deacons and priests.

As for the St. Andew’s stole, my understanding from previous threads ( is that clergy are to wear the vestments proper to their own rite, where there is a substantial difference.

There is no technical difference between the first two options, but I would think that the third is not allowed for latin rite deacons.

You are correct. I got that wrong. It is referred to as a St. Stephen’s stole after the protodeacan.

Where are the rubrics located that you mention? Thanks.

No, not really. Such stoles do not drape well when hung around neck.

I don’t know that the St. Stephen’s stole IS NOT “proper” to the Latin Rite. That is my entire question. Where is this documented. Going back 15-20 years I never saw a stole like #1. All deacon’s stoles were like #2.

Pope Benedict’s Pallium used to be of the St. Stephen’s design. It’s not a design that is unique to the East.

This type of stole in the East is often referred to as a orarion.


  1. The stole is worn by the priest around his neck and hanging down in front. It is worn by the deacon over his left shoulder and drawn diagonally across the chest to the right side, where it is fastened.

Chapter VI section IV, “Sacred Vestments”

Excellent, thanks! I bet some would suggest that “where it is fastened” would disqualify the St. Stephen stole, but I’m not sure that it does.

You have a good point there, I didn’t think about it that way. It may disqualify that type of stole.:shrug:

The problem is not many know exactly what is “proper” or not. I have requested from our liturgist here in my home diocese on the use of dalmatics and these stoles, I am yet to recieve an answer to either.

The dalmatic question I proposed to him had to do with our deacon leader saying that we could not wear dalmatics unless it matched the celebrant’s chasible exactly, not just the proper color. If that were the case there would be almost no deacons wearing dalmatics, which is the proper vestment of the deacon.

I don’t think there is a prohibition. Your liturgist might render an opinion but it has no authority unless you bishop backs it and then only for your diocese.

Both #2 and #3 have been used for a very long time in the Church. #3 is typically only seen in the East now but given its heritage I seriously doubt it’s prohibited. That said, some bishops and pastors might direct their deacons not to wear them because it might confuse people.

#1 is actually a fairly recent adaptation. Possibly the last 15 or 20 years? Those stoles are easier to keep on which is my guess as to why they have become so common.

That sounds odd. It certainly looks nice if it/they match(es), but sometimes it’s not possible. Even at papal masses, the dalmatics don’t always match the chasuble(s).

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