XXVI: The Vestments

Q: What vestments are worn by clergy in the Lutheran Church?

A:   Vestments serve a variety of purposes; they designate liturgical function; they reflect the continuity of catholic worship; and (most important) they assist the congregation in placing less emphasis on the person of the pastor and more on the office, so that glory is given to God and not to the worship leader. Clergy vestments include: 

CASSOCK: This is not actually a vestment, but the basic street-garb, or undergarment, of the clergy over which all other vestments are worn.

SURPLICE: A white, wide-sleeved garment worn over the cassock. Historically not a eucharistic vestment, it should be worn only for non-eucharistic liturgies.

ALB: White, ankle-length garment which is the oldest Christian vestment. The basic eucharistic vestment, the whiteness symbolizes the purity of Christ.

STOLE: A Sacramental vestment, stoles are long, narrow bands in the color of the liturgical day/ season. These are worn only by ordained clergy as a sign of their ordination and symbolize the yoke of obedience to Christ.

CHASUBLE: The principal vestment of the celebrant of the Eucharist. A very full vestment in the color of the liturgical day/ season which is worn like a poncho over the alb. The chasuble symbolizes the seamless robe of Christ which covers the sin of all the world.

COPE: A long cape with a hood in the back, fastened at the chest with a clasp (called a morsel, the cope is worn on festive occasions, for processions, and for the liturgy of the Word on festivals.

Adapted from About Being Lutheran © Lutheran Liturgical Renewal 1991. Used by permission.