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I've seen pictures of Orthodox clergy wearing cylindir shaped hats. Sometimes they're black, sometimes purple. Sometimes they have a flat disc on top. What do these different versions signify?

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The cylindrical hat is called a kamilavka. Black is the basic color all clergy may wear. Purple is for archpriests and protodeacons. The disc is simply differnt style. Grek style has the rim, Slav style does not.


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Slight correction, Fr. Deacon. In the Russian church a priest is awarded the purple kamilavka after having been first awarded the purple skufiya(the soft headgear).After the purple kamilavka, the priest gets the Gold Cross, after that, the elevation to Archpriest comes next.You are correct, the Protodeacon gets the Purple Kamilavka after having first been elevated to Protodeacon.Marshall asked about headgear, so I won't go into the Russian system of clerical awards which supposedly originated with Peter the Great's Table of Ranks, for military, clergy and civil servants.In Christ, Fr. Andrei

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And these hats are not just for the Orthodox, but also for those Eastern Catholics who use the Byzantine rite too!

Herb

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You're correct herb, but it's odd that BOTH the Ukrainian Catholics and at least some of the Old Believers also have Mitered Archpriest, especially since this was an innovation that began with Empress Catherine the Great!

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Father, bless.

The elevation of Father Ivan Pampfilov as the first mitred archpriest would have been after the Nikonian liturgical reforms, and the Old Rite communities I am familiar with do not use that honorific title [perhaps some others do].

That is an interesting story in and of itself. Catherine II didn't want her married family confessor outdone by all of the archimandrites at the Court, and thought he should have a miter as well.

Father, are you referring to the bestowal of Archpriest before Mitred Archpriest when discussing the stepwise elevation of headgear, cross, etc.?

In Greek Catholic usage Archpriest usually just gets a special cross, and Mitred Archpriest obviously the miter, and the privalege to wear either/or the purple skufya and kamilavka.

The protodeacon is also allowed to wear either, the typical convention being the skufya is used outside of services and the kamilavka during services.

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Fr. AL,

I would like to hear the Russian system for clerical awards because it indeed seems complicated.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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OK,Fr. deacon,I hope this helps.The newly ordained priest is given the silver cross.the next award is the rectangular thigh shield, called NABEDRENIK.The next award is the purple skuifiya mentioned above.After this comes the purple kamilavka.(according to ROCOR practice, a diocesan bishop may award these three awards to any priest in his jurisdiction WITHOUT having to go through the Synod of Bishops).After the purple kamilavka, comes the gold cross.Then comes the title of "Archpriest", no visible award, but the bishop reads the prayer over the priest at the little entrance.Then the Palitsa,or diamond-shaped thigh shield(the priest wears the palitsa on his right, the nabedrenik is then shifted to the left.After the palitsa, the jewelled cross.After the jewelled cross, comes the miter, and finally comes the rare title of PROTOPRESBYTER.Among Monastic priests, the order is the same, except for no purple headgear being awarded,the rank of Abbot or Igumen being the equivalent of Archpriest, and Archimandrite being equivalent to Mitred Archpriest.On some rare occasions, an Archimandrite or Mitred Archpriest may be awarded the right to wear a second jewelled cross by the Synod of Bishops. Hope this helps,Fr. Andrei

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Fr. Andrei,

Many thanks. The Pittsburgh Metropolia's system is a bit simpler. An eparchial priest is raised to archpriest and is given the Palitsa and jewelled Cross and may use the purple kamilavka, although kamilavka are not used much in our metropolia. After that is only Mitered Archpriest. Monastic clergy are similar. A hegumen is given the same as an archpriest, an archimandrite is given the same as a mitered archpriest with the addition of the pastoral staff. In the Eastern Catholic Churches protopresbyter is not an honor but an office that is equivalent to the Latin Catholic dean or vicar forane, no insignia accompanies it.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Just as a follow up to this, I'm posting the "schedule" of awards for the Orthodox Church in America, and then the Russian Orthodox Church. Bear in mind that no award is guaranteed. They are always given at the discretion of the bishop, and should be for good service rendered (i.e., not just for "breathing"!)

Orthodox Church in America
Nabedrennik - 2 years (Diocesan)
Skufia (purple) - 3 to 4 years (Diocesan)
Kamilavka (purple) - 6 years (Diocesan)
Gold Cross - 10 years (Synodal)
Archpriest - 15 years (Synodal)
Palitza - 20 years (Synodal)
Jeweled Cross - 25 years (Synodal)
Protopresbyter - 40-50 yrs. or exceptional service (Synodal)

Russian Orthodox Church
(these guidelines were issued 10-5-04)
Nabedrennik - 3 years (Diocesan)
(no mention is made of Purple Skufia)
Kamilavka (purple) - 3 years after Nabedrennik(Diocesan)
Gold Cross - 3 years after Kamilavka (Diocesan)
Archpriest - 10 years min. (Patriarchal)
Palitza - 5 years after Archpriest (Patriarchal)
Jeweled Cross - 5 years after Palitza (Patriarchal)
Mitre - 30 yrs. min (Patriarchal)
(Here there are also various designations for having the Royal Doors open for certain portions of the Divine Liturgy as an "award")
Protopresbyter - exceptional circumstances (Patriarchal)

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Thanks to Fr. Thomas for the comparison. It is interesting that the Russians, like the Ukrainians and some others don't make a specific distinction between the wearing of the purple kamilavka and skufya, while in the OCA that is a specifically different honorific right, the skufya before the kamilavka.

Do the Bulgarian, Albanian and Romanian dioceses of the OCA also have their own honorific hierarchy, or is the one you posted in general use?

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I always thought the purple skufia as an award was rather strange. No one wears it liturgically (that I know of), although the instructons for wearing headgear during the divine services does include skufia. The kamilavka is much more commonly worn. The differences there, of course, is that in the Greek tradition, married clergy will wear the black kamilavka from the beginnig of their priesthood, while Russian married clergy never (?) wear the black kamilakva, only purple (or red) when it is awarded.

I, for one, lament the decline of the wearing of liturgical headgear in this country. I think it looks rather dignified, but it's fallen out of disuse in many places. In the OCA is it more common in the west and south, and a bit in the midwest, but very little in the east.

Oh well, maybe someday it will be in the shape of a baseball cap, and then it will come back into vogue!

Not sure about the ethnic dioceses. I would guess that the diocesan schedules may be different, but the Synodal schedule much the same. Most of it really is up to the local bishop who has great latitude in these matters.

Priest Thomas

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Ever cool !

Herb

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Um, does anyone else think that this discussion about liturgical colors, honorific symbols , etc, is a bit,well, pharisaical? I note that such esoteric discussions on this forum frequently merit several pages of discussion. while often substantive conversations fade out pretty quickly...

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Quote
Originally posted by iconophile:
Um, does anyone else think that this discussion about liturgical colors, honorific symbols , etc, is a bit,well, pharisaical? I note that such esoteric discussions on this forum frequently merit several pages of discussion. while often substantive conversations fade out pretty quickly...
Daniel,

Smile biggrin . I think one of the distinctions is that threads like this can be interesting without taxing the brain and don't involve the tension that sometimes accompanies discussion of substantive matters. In other words, it gives us a break (it's analagous to the occasional "gut" elective one took in school).

As long as John can tolerate the use of bandwidth, I don't see it as harmful. It certainly beats the absolute frivolity, make that inanity, that I frequently see on "Catholic Answers" - ex. "Are there hamburgers in heaven?", which garnered 88 replies (posted on their Apologetics forum), or "What's on your dashboard/hanging from your mirror?", a poll (in the Spirituality forum).

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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