The History of the Clergy Stole

There are dozens of diverse versions in regards to the origin of the stole. The majority of disciples believe the liturgical stole was originated from a type of shawl that wrapped over the shoulders and dropped down to the front of the front placket. At the setout, the width of the stoles worn on ladies was normally quite wide while after being introduced by the Roman Catholic Church in Italy between 600s to 690s, the stole turned to be much narrower and gradually commenced to embrace more ornate ornamentation as a symbol of nobility.

Another mainstream theory as regards as the "ancestry" of the stole deemed that the Christian stole came from the kerchief worn by the Imperial administrative staff of the Roman Empire. As a number of the clerics turned into the members of the Roman officials, they were aperiodically granted some honors within the hierarchy of the empire. For the purpose of indicating their rank which still perfectly exists and performs today, a wide assortment of the designs of the stole such as the omophorion or the pallium slowly emerged and devised. As opposed to other religious vestments which initially worn by most churchgoers and the clergy, the clerical stole was a vestment only pertinent to a fraction of persons depending upon the position.

Others are convinced of the saying that the stole derived from a specific christening napkin entitled orarium. As a matter of fact, there are a wealth of places where the stole is yet named orarium. It is believed that there's a connection between the contemporary worship stole and the ancient napkin used by Christ's disciples for cleaning their feet.

Throughout the time of English Reformation, sacramental vestments including the priest stole were banned in Anglicanism while the Oxford Movement revived the pre-Reformation worship among the Anglo-Catholicism members by and by. So does the clergy stoles.

Nowadays, the stole which is made of a band of 7.5-9' × 3-4" dyed cloth typically of silk or satin is one of the essentials for a variety of religious denominations. Along with the cincture and the defunct maniple, the clerical stole denotes not only the fetters and bonds the Jesus was bound in the time of his Passion but also the responsibility of preaching. After years of modifications and redesigns, the two ends of the liturgical stole have developed to be either straight or broaden-out and are hung down parallelly and loosely in front or mutually attached. The decorations of the stole are gradually inclined to be more intricate. Ornamental trims such as the contrasting gallons and the usage of the pattern of a jigsaw, riotous colors, certain significant religious symbols or even the fishnet are widely applied as a statement. Meanwhile, the conventional styles and colors of a stole specified by the cathedral for a particular liturgical service are still retained. Furthermore, for the sake of cost and convenience, a piece of light-colored lace or linen stitched onto the reverse side of the collar was invented as a substitute for the stole itself.

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