Wednesday, October 11, 2006


A very dear retired Pastor friend of mine, the Right Reverend, His Most Eminent Papal Bull, St. John of Hamilton, made a very generous and much appreciated gift of his chasubles to me. Below is a well written background of the history of Chasubles in the Bible and their use in modern Christian worship from I've also included pictures of the chasubles.

A chasuble, called a phelonion in Orthodox churches today, and a φελονης in 2 Timothy 4:13, is an ornate circular garment with a hole in the center for the wearer’s head. When worn, it reaches to the wearer’s wrists, so that if the wearer holds both arms straight out, the chasuble forms a semi-circle when viewed from the front or the back. The chasuble is the descendant of a first-century paenula that was worn as a coat by both sexes. Today it connotes solemnity and formality. The chasuble can be worn by the celebrant during a Eucharistic (communion) service. Sometimes the celebrant puts the chasuble on over other vestments as part of the Eucharistic ceremony. Chasubles are used in Lutheran churches, particularly outside the United States, as well as in Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

The chasuble is always worn with a stole. Generally, the stole is under the chasuble. The stole and chasuble combination is the first-century equivalent of wearing a necktie and jacket. It is not appropriate to wear a chasuble in a service that does not include Communion (except for Good Friday and Holy Saturday services).

The Roman Empire had two modes of execution: non-citizens were thrown to wild animals, but citizens were beheaded with the sword. Therefore when Paul says that he escaped the lion’s mouth in 2 Timothy 4:17, he means he had successfully proved his Roman citizenship. In 2 Timothy 4:13, most translations vaguely refer to a garment or a cloak, but in the Greek, Paul asks Timothy to bring him the chasuble he had left behind in Troas. Since the chasuble was the mark of a Roman citizen, Paul apparently wanted to go out like one.

Therefore, when the celebrant is dressed in a chasuble, he is dressed like a Christian martyr who is ready to have his head chopped off for Christ.