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Church textiles

Clericals and vestments

Vestments

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Vestments

Clergy wear particular clothes called clericals and vestments.

Clericals
are not liturgical vestments or choir dress, but the distinctive every day street clothes that clergy wear when they are working or 'on duty'. They are only worn by clergy and makes it evident that they are clergy. Clericals are different from vestments in that they are not worn just for services. Sometimes the clericals are worn under vestments. Clerical clothing generally consists of a clerical collar, clergy shirt, and, on some occasions, a cassock.

Vestments are liturgical garments and worn only by clergy when they are taking services and they are worn over everyday clothes or clericals. They are often festive and the colours vary according to the liturgical season: white or gold during Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and for major Saints Days; red at Pentecost and principal feast days for martyrs, and days which emphasise the cross of Jesus; purple during Advent and Lent; green when there are no festivals or special days. Explanations and examples of these colours can be found on the page Colours of the Christian Year. Vestments include the alb, amice, chasuble, and surplice and date back to the first century. Sometimes the vestments, particularly the stole, will have a cross on them which the clergy kiss before putting it on.

Find out about clericals and vestments on the page Service garments.


Altar linens

The high altar in the sanctuary is covered with several different special cloths, collectively called altar linens. They are so called because Jesus’ graveclothes were made out of linen. They cover the altar during services and celebrations, and also when the altar is not being used. The cloths are put on the altar in a particular order, working from the altar table itself up through the layers in the following order:
The cere cloth, originally a piece of heavy linen treated with wax, is used to protect both the altar and the other cloths. Cere comes from the Latin for wax. It fits the top of the altar exactly.
The linen cloth, also made of linen and fits the top of the altar exactly. It acts as a cushion and, with the cere cloth, protects the altar.
The fair linen, a long white linen cloth laid over the linen cloth, is left on the altar all the time. Like the other two cloths, it is the same depth as the top of the altar, but longer, so hangs over the edges to within a few inches of the floor. It is usually trimmed with lace on the ends and symbolizes the shroud in which Jesus was wrapped for burial. Five small crosses, symbolising the five wounds of Jesus, are embroidered on it, one at each corner of the top of the altar, and one in the middle of the front edge.
The coverlet, another heavy linen cloth, the same length and width as the fair linen, is left on the altar whenever it is not in use. It simply protects the altar from dust and debris.

Altar Frontals
The frontals are the same size as the front of the altar, made of tapestry, silk or damask, and are richly decorated. There are different colours according to the time in the liturgical season.

Altar frontal



Altar Frontal

Altar Frontal

Altar Frontal


Chalice cloths

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The pall and purificator The pall and purificator
The pall and purificator
The corporal, a square white cloth, is laid on the altar with the chalice and ciborium on top. Corporal comes from the Latin corpus, meaning body. It may have a lace edging, and a cross may be embroidered onto it near the front edge.
The chalice veil, a large square cloth the colour of the liturgical season, is placed over the chalice, ciborium and purificator when the vessels are prepared for communion, with the embroidered symbol facing the congregation. It is always in the correct liturgical colour. See the pictures below.
The burse, a type of folder used to carry the corporal to and from the altar, is always in the correct liturgical colour. See the pictures below.
The purificator, a white linen cloth, serves as a napkin to 'purify' the celebrant’s lips, and which is used to wipe the chalice after each communicant sips from the chalice. It is also used to wipe the chalice and ciborium after the ablutions which follow Communion. See the picture on the right.
The pall, a stiffened square card covered with white linen, usually embroidered with a cross, prevents dust and insects from getting into the bread and wine. See the picture on the right.
The lavabo towel is used by the priest to dry his hands after washing them.

The chalice veils and burses are shown here:

Chalice Veil and Burse

Chalice veil and burse

Chalice veil and burse


The altar is prepared for communion in the following order:
The corporal is spread out upon the altar
The veil is placed over the pall in such a way that it completely covers it
The burse is placed on top of the veil
The chalice is placed in the centre of the corporal and is covered with the purificator.
The ciborium is placed on top of the chalice and purificator, and the host is placed in the ciborium
The pall is placed over the paten

Pulpit falls

The pulpit falls are decorative pieces of material adorning the pulpit. They hang down in front of the book stand on the pulpit so the front of the fall is seen by the congregation. There are different colours according to the time in the liturgical season.


A pulpit fall

A pulpit fall

A pulpit fall

A pulpit fall


Hassocks or kneelers

The creation of a series of new kneelers was a millennium project for the church which involved a group of women who used their talents and artistic energy to give something lasting to St James's. There are four kneelers depicting the four seasons and others show the emblems for the guides and scouts, Mothers Union and New Start. The remaining designs are based on the tiles and stained glass windows in the church. See all St James's kneelers on the images page Kneelers.

Kneeler

Kneeler

Kneeler

Kneeler


The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk