Titles of assistants

What is the title of the assistants who hold the mitre and crosier for a bishop?

Abbots? Altar Servers? Secretaries? Many different answers from the general query.

Any ideas from my fellow Catholics?

Thanks :slight_smile:

The mitre would be held by the mitre-bearer and the crosier by the crosier-bearer when the bishop is not wearing/using those items. It’s possible that they would use a vimpa,or a band of fabric to indicate that those items do not belong to the mass server, but to the bishop.

Just fyi, an Abbot is the head of an abbey.

They are called Mitre-Bearer and Crosier-Bearer, and the cloth that they (should) wear is called a vimpa (pl: vimpae), and often resembles a simple humeral veil. They are usually white or sometimes the color of the day.

Some terms used are “instituted acolytes” or “altar servers” or “ministers”.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :

“*The Ministry of the Instituted Acolyte and Lector
*98. The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. In particular, it is his responsibility to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if it is necessary, as an extraordinary minister, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful.”

“100. In the absence of an instituted acolyte, lay ministers may be deputed to serve at the altar and assist the priest and the deacon; they may carry the cross, the candles, the thurible, the bread, the wine, and the water, and they may also be deputed to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers.”

“339. In the dioceses of the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing.”

I was the ‘miter’ (bearer of the mitre) between 1957 and 1959 in Budapest Hungary. I received the tonsure before that, but did not received the minor order of acolyte during that time. I sat at the feet of the bishop. I believe the selection was random, but once one was selected he kept the function until some change, usually stepping ahead. (In our seminary 72 out of 80 was expelled, this was the reason of my termination)

An institured acolyte is not an altar server, or “altar boy”. The altar server, as mentioned above, is called just that, mitre bearer and crozier bearer…nothing more. Duly instituted acolytes can and are used in this role, but they are not merely altar servers; they are acolytes.

An acolyte is instituted by the bishop after some direct and required training. Their role is to assist at the mass at the altar, but not the typical role that an altar server would. They are, “special extraordinary ministers of Holy Comunion.” They would serve the cup normally and would take their role before the EMHC and aftert the ordinary minister of Communion.

They would more than likely perform the purification, or assist in purification; which the altar server cannot.

Back to the OP’s question, you have your answer. Now there are times when the bishop would not have his crozier or miter, if he is the sole celebrant of a mass of lower significance. Then he would have the altar servers do their normal job and would have if available, two “attending deacons” and a deacon of the gospel.

Very often the acolyte and altar server are talked about in the same light, that is not correct. There is a big difference.:thumbsup:

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :

“208. If a deacon is not present, his proper duties are to be carried out by some of the concelebrants.
In the absence also of other ministers, their proper parts may be entrusted to other suitable members of the faithful; otherwise, they are carried out by some of the concelebrants.”

So if there were no instituted acolyte or altar server the job could be done by a concelebrant, a bishop or priest. I would also include a deacon as a “suitable member of the faithful”.

Ok, did I miss something? I am sorry if I spoke out of place. I just commented on the difference in the two, acolyte and server.

If I am understanding you correctly, more often than not there will be ministers assigned for these tasks before the mass by the MC. It would be very rare to see a deacon, priest or especially a bishop serve as mitre or crozier bearer. Altar server, seminarian, or acolyte would normally be assigned this role.

Please tell me if I am missing your point.:shrug:

Thank you all who responded to my query.

The possible choices of titles I noted in my original post were from a generic “google” search.
I was pretty clear on who wore those titles. I was just wondering if there was a specific title for this job.

I appreciate all your help. :slight_smile:

My post #7 was not really a response to post #6. It was just trying to give a more complete answer to post #1. Can an abbot be a mitre bearer? Yes, he could be, in certain circumstances.

To respond to post #6. “An institured acolyte is not an altar server”. OK, an “instituted acolyte” is not the same is a “non-instituted altar server”. I understand this, and I think that would be clear from the quotes I provided.

On the other hand, how do the liturgical books describe what an instituted acolyte does? “Their proper ministry is to look after the service of the altar” (Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, page 24.)
“… Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.” (words of institution, from Institution of Acolytes, The Rites Volume Two, Liturgical Press, 1991, ISBN: 0-8146-6037-1, page 109).
“It is his duty therefore to attend to the service of the altar …” (Motu Proprio Ministeria Queadam, n. 6).

From post #6 [the instituted acolyte’s] “role is to assist at the mass at the altar, but not the typical role that an altar server would.” Well, if it is meant that an instituted acolyte should not normally be the mitre bearer then this is not in accord with the liturgical book, Ceremonial of Bishops, page 24: “28. … When necessary, acolytes should instruct those who serve as ministers in liturgical rites by carrying the book, the cross, candles, or the censer or by performing other similar duties. But in celebrations presided over by the bishop it is fitting that all such ministerial functions be carried out by formally instituted acolytes, and if a number are present, they should divide the ministries accordingly.” (My bold text.)

So the correct (or “fitting”) person to be holding a bishop’s miter is an instituted acolyte, rather than a “non-instituted altar server”.

From post #6: “Now there are times when the bishop would not have his crozier or miter, if he is the sole celebrant of a mass of lower significance.” I think this is wrong. The absence of these has nothing to do with a bishop being sole celebrant. From the Ceremonial of Bishops: “60. In a liturgical service the bishop is to use only one miter, plain or ornate depending on the character of the celebration.” There does not seem to be an option of “no miter”. For the crozier: “59. The bishop carries the pastoral staff in his own territory as a sign of his pastoral office, but any bishop who, with the consent of the diocesan bishop, solemnly celebrates may use the pastoral staff.”


I’m not going to argue with you anymore, what’s the point. The OP asked what the person who attended the mitre and crozier were called, he got the answer. I only commeneted on your lumping in to the same pot, acolytes and altar servers. I am beginning to regret ever jumping in. I sometimes forget how ignorant I am and how ilicit everything that happens in reality is.:rolleyes:

I have been serving with our bishop for two years now, as an acolyte for most of that time, and as deacon since December. How long have you served with your bishop???

If you choose to repond again and “put me in my place” or correct my heretical thinking, feel free to do so, I will not repond anymore. There is no point.

I appologize for dragging the rest of you through this little tiff.:o

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