Why is the Pope Wearing Red?

Hi all,

I’ve noticed over the last couple of days, while Pope Francis has been in the Middle East, that he’s been wearing red during his Mass celebrations.

Since we’re now in Advent, which is Purple, what is he doing wearing red?

I thought of two possible explanations. First, that the Pope doesn’t observe the liturgical colours of the Church year, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Or, that the Pope is wearing red for the Christian martyrs of the Middle East.

Am I way off base?

Thanks in advance.

Here is a link to liturgical colors.


I think he would wear red on a martyrs feast day. Here is a link to feast days. According to this, there were 16 days in November that were the feast days of martyrs.


Red is worn during Advent in Byzantine Churches. Since he is on an official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch that may be why red was worn.

I don’t think that’s it. My understanding is that clergy are supposed to vest according to their own rite, even if assisting at a liturgy of another rite (maybe this does not apply to color?). Although, I suppose the pope would have more freedom to do that, and Francis, if anyone, would be the one to do that. If I recall correctly, he has celebrated in the Byzantine rite as a priest before.

Hopefully someone can set me straight on this.

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