unless otherwise stated.
English: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in White Cassock
(sometimes, though unofficially, called a Simar)
with Pellegrina and fringed white Fascia.
Português: Papa Bento XVI visita a "Fazenda Esperança",
local de recuperação de dependentes
químicos localizado na zona rural de
Photo: 12 May 2007.
Source: Agência Brasil.
Author: Valter Campanato/ABr.
The Cassock derives historically from the Tunic, that in ancient Rome was worn underneath the Toga, and the Chiton, that was worn beneath the Himation, in ancient Greece. In Religious Services, it has traditionally been worn underneath Vestments, such as the Alb.
In the West, the Cassock is little used today, except for Religious Services; but in many countries it was the normal everyday wear of the Clergy until the second half of the 20th-Century, when it was replaced even in those countries by a conventional suit, distinguished from Lay Dress by being generally black and by incorporating a Clerical Collar.
The word "Cassock" comes from Middle French casaque, meaning a long coat. In turn, the Old French word may come ultimately from Turkish "quzzak" (nomad, adventurer – the source of the word "Cossack"), an allusion to their typical riding coat, or from Persian کژاغند "kazhāgand" (padded garment) – کژ "kazh" (raw silk) + آغند "āgand" (stuffed).
English: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,
wearing a tropical white Cassock,
trimmed in Cardinalatial Scarlet,
Italiano: Missione genovese del Guaricano - Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic),
l'arcivescovo di Genova cardinale Tarcisio Bertone in visita alla missione - Foto di Donpaolo
Source: Own work.
Author: di Donpaolo.
This File: 28 February 2006.
The word "Soutane" is a French-derived word, coming from Italian sottana, derived in turn from Latin subtana, the adjectival form of subtus (beneath).
The Cassock (or Soutane) comes in a number of styles or cuts, though no particular symbolism attaches to these. A Roman Cassock often has a series of buttons down the front – sometimes thirty-three (symbolic of the years of the life of Jesus). In some English-speaking countries, these buttons may be merely ornamental, with a concealed fly-front buttoning, known as a Chesterfield front, used to fasten the garment.
A French Cassock also has buttons sewn to the sleeves, after the manner of a suit, and a slightly broader skirt. An Ambrosian Cassock has a series of only five buttons under the neck, with a sash on the waist. A Jesuit Cassock, in lieu of buttons, has a fly fastened with hooks at the collar, and is bound at the waist with a cincture, knotted on the right side.
English: Priest wearing Roman Cassock.
Note the 33 buttons, symbolising the
33 years of the Earthly life of Jesus Christ.
First Native Roman Catholic Parish Priest from the Belgian Congo.
Français: Premier prêtre indigène de l'église catholique romain au Congo belge.
Lingála: Sángó moíndo ya libosó ya Eklesya Katolike na Kongó ya Bɛ́lɛjika.
Source: Gazet van Antwerpen, 2 September 1906. "First Native Parish Priest."
The 1969 Instruction, on the Dress of Prelates, stated that, for all of them, even Cardinals, the Dress for ordinary use may be a simple Black Cassock without coloured trim.
A band cincture or sash, known also as a Fascia, may be worn with the Cassock. The Instruction on the Dress of Prelates specifies that the two ends, that hang down by the side, have silk fringes, abolishing the sash with tassels.
A Black Faille Fascia is worn by Priests, Deacons, and Major Seminarians, while a Purple Faille Fascia is used by Bishops, Protonotaries Apostolic, Honorary Prelates, and Chaplains of His Holiness, when wearing a Cassock with coloured trim.
An Anglican Priest wearing the
standard double-breasted Sarum Cassock.
This File: 8 January 2007.
In Choir Dress, Chaplains of His Holiness wear their Purple-Trimmed Black Cassocks with a Cotta, but Bishops, Protonotaries Apostolic, and Honorary Prelates use (with a Cotta or, in the case of Bishops, a Rochet and Mozzetta) Cassocks that are fully Purple (this Purple corresponds more closely with a Roman Purple and is approximated as Fuchsia) with Scarlet trim, while those of Cardinals are fully Scarlet with Scarlet trim. Cardinals have the additional distinction of having both Choir Cassock Sleeves, and the Fascia, made of Scarlet Watered-Silk. The cut of the Choir Cassock is still a Roman-cut or French-cut Roman Cassock.
In the past, a Cardinal's Cassock was made entirely of Watered Silk, with a Train that could be fastened at the back of the Cassock. This Train was abolished by the motu proprio Valde solliciti of Pope Pius XII, with effect from 1 January 1953. With the same motu proprio, the Pope ordered that the Violet Cassock (then used in Penitential periods and in mourning) be made of wool, not silk, and, in February 1965, under Pope Paul VI, a Circular of the Sacred Ceremonial Congregation abolished the use of Watered Silk also for the Red Cassock.
An elbow-length Shoulder Cape, open in front, is sometimes worn with the Cassock, either fixed to it or detachable. It is known as a Pellegrina. It is distinct from the Mozzetta, which is buttoned in front and is worn over a Rochet.
wearing a black amaranth-piped Cassock,
with Pellegrina, a purple Fascia and
a gold or gilt Pectoral Cross.
Source: Opus Dei official website.
In his 1909 book, Costume of Prelates of the Catholic Church, John Abel Felix Prosper Nainfa proposed the use of the English word "Simar", instead of the word "Cassock", for the garment with Shoulder Cape, which he treated as distinct from the Cassock proper. Others, too, have made the same distinction between the "Simar" (with Pellegrina) and the "Cassock" (without Pellegrina), but many scholars disagree with Nainfa's distinction.
More particularly, documents of the Holy See make no such distinction, using the term "Cassock" or "vestis talaris" whether a Pellegrina is attached or not. Thus, the 1969 Instruction states that, for Cardinals and Bishops, "the elbow-length Cape, trimmed in the same manner as this Cassock, may be worn over it". "Cassock", rather than "Simar" is the term that is usually applied to the Dress of Popes and other Catholic Ecclesiastics. The Instruction also gives no support to Nainfa's claim that the Cassock, with Shoulder Cape, should not be worn in Church Services, which moreover would be of difficult application, since the Cassock, with Pellegrina, is generally made as a single garment, with a non-detachable Pellegrina.
A Greek Orthodox Clergyman,
in Jerusalem, wearing
Outer Cassock (exorason)
Date: 24 December 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: David Shankbone.
In cold weather, the Manto, an ankle-length Cape, with or without Shoulder Cape, or the Greca, also known as the Douillette, an ankle-length Double-Breasted Overcoat, is traditionally worn over the Cassock. For Bishops and Priests, both the Manto and Greca are Solid Black in colour, while, for the Pope, the Manto is Red and the Greca is White.
Cassocks are sometimes worn by Seminarians studying for the Priesthood, by Religious Brothers, by Lay People, when assisting with the Liturgy in Church, such as Altar Servers, and by members of Choirs (frequently with Cotta, or, more usually in Anglican Churches, Surplice).
Seminarian, vested in a pleated Roman-style Surplice with lace inserts, holding a Thurible,
at the First Annual Eucharistic Congress, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States of America.
This File: 1 October 2005.
It was originally a long garment with open sleeves reaching nearly to the ground, as it remains in the Anglican tradition, but in the Catholic tradition, the Surplice often has shorter, closed sleeves and square shoulders. Anglicans typically refer to a Roman-style Surplice with the Mediaeval Latin term Cotta [meaning 'cut-off' in Italian], as it is derived from the cut-off Alb.
It seems most probable that the Surplice first appeared in France or England, whence its use gradually spread to Italy. It is possible that there is a connection between the Surplice and the Gallican or Celtic Alb, an un-girdled Liturgical Tunic of the old Gallican Rite, which was superseded during the Carolingian era by the Roman Rite.
Picture of an Anglican Priest,
in Choir Habit — Cassock, Surplice, Academic Hood
(University of Wales BD) and Tippet.
Photo: 21 October 2005.
Source: Own work.
Author: Gareth Hughes.
The Surplice originally reached to the feet, but, as early as the 13th-Century, it began to shorten, though, as late as the 15th-Century, it still fell to the middle of the shin, and only in the 17th- and 18th-Centuries in Continental Europe did it become considerably shorter. In several localities it underwent more drastic modifications in the course of time, which led to the appearance of various subsidiary forms alongside the original type. For example:
the sleeveless Surplice, which featured holes at the sides to put the arms through;
the Surplice with slit arms or lappets (so-called "wings") instead of sleeves, often worn by Organists today, due to the ease of maneuvering the arms;
the Surplice with, not only the sleeves, but the body of the garment itself slit up the sides, precisely like the modern Dalmatic;
a sort of Surplice in the form of a bell-shaped Mantle, with a hole for the head, which necessitated the arms sticking out under the hem.
The Death of St. Bede,
the Monastic Clergy are wearing Surplices
Ushaw, Durham, England).
Death of Saint Bede - Project Gutenberg eText 16785
From The Project Gutenberg EBook of Our Catholic Heritage
in English Literature of Pre-Conquest Days,
by Emily Hickey.http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16785
The Surplice is meant to be a miniature Alb, the Alb itself being the symbol of the white garment received at Baptism. As such, it is appropriately worn by any Cleric, by Lectors and Acolytes, or indeed by Altar Servers who are technically standing in for instituted Acolytes for any Liturgical Service. It is often worn, for instance, by Seminarians when attending Mass and by non-Clerical Choirs. It is usually worn over a Cassock and never alone, nor is it ever gathered by a belt or Cincture.
It may be worn under a Stole by Deacons and Priests for Liturgical ceremonies or the celebration of Sacraments outside of Mass. On occasion, a Cope is worn over the Cassock, Surplice and Stole.
As part of the Choir Dress of the Clergy, it is normally not worn by Prelates (the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignori, and some Canons) - instead, these Clerics wear the Rochet, which is in fact a variant of the Surplice.
The Surplice belongs to the vestes sacrae (Sacred Vestments), though it requires no Benediction before it is worn.