What Are Vestments And Their Purpose – 2023 Guide 

A typical vestment is a cloth fastened over the collar and around the neck. Generally, it is worn on top of a regular attire that people wear. During masses, a celebrant wears one, and you can also notice that the deacons and subdeacons also wear them.

It hangs from the collar and down to the body of the person wearing it. It also has a cord that serves the purpose of cinching the Alb. The Alb is cinched at the waist of the person wearing these specifics in the church during the mass or service.

Origin of the Sacred Vestment


Any vestment that is worn at a church is considered to be sacred. These days we see the church vestments worn only in Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. However, these have a long history, and their origins date right from the time churches came into existence.

It might sound astonishing that churches have different types of vestments. These differences have a lot to do with the country, culture, and the faiths that people are known to follow. It symbolizes priesthood, and it also is considered sacred and divine

Almost all holy observances mention that the leaders of the church have to wear these vestments. In addition to that, it also symbolizes holiness and cleanliness in the body and soul. The final forms of the vestment were said to be finalized by Catholic churches only as late as the 13th century.

Purposes of the Vestment


The purpose of the vestment has a lot to do with the culture it is worn in. While some churches use it just as attire to cover the usual garments, others use it for a holy purpose. It includes the celebrant wearing it during any rite they perform.

It often includes conducting masses, marriages, funerals, holy communion, and other important ceremonies of the church. The laws of the land differ from one country to another, which is why the purposes are not the same everywhere.

Both legal ceremonies and extra-legal ones require the celebrant to wear these vestments. Other legal rituals include the naming of a baby, memorial services, name changes, dedicating houses, and many more.

Primary Reasons for Wearing a Vestment


Over the years, there have been many reasons which specify the purpose for priests and leaders of the church to wear a vestment. Each church has a different reason for them wearing this type of attire on top of the clothes they commonly wear.

We look at some of the top and common reasons for them to wear a vestment below:

  • To remind or make the congregation aware that the leaders or priests are not acting on their own will but by spiritual guidance.
  • That the priests or leaders are following standard protocols of the office, which are vital to the church and the church’s culture.
  • To remove any common mistakes that may come up if they wear the ordinary attire used by the common man.
  • To also ensure that the congregation is not distracted by any means with the type of usual or unusual clothing they might wear.
  • To avoid confusion on the standards of attire for the priests and leaders when it comes to presiding over a ceremony or a mass.

Different Parts or Types of Vestments


Although we have listed different parts and types of vestments, they might differ from one denomination of church to another. It may also vary following the church rules, laws, protocols, and practices.

  • Chasubles: Bishops and Roman Catholic priests are known to wear this. Typically worn during masses or celebrating the eucharist, this is the outermost part of the vestment.
  • Deacon Dalmatics: Worn during mass or other services, this is also an outermost garment. Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran denominations are known to use this.
  • Humeral Veil: Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran denominations use these types.
  • Overlay Stole: This is just a band of cloth that the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran denominations use.
  • Copes: These are for priests and bishops, but there are instances when deacons wear them too. Worn similar to cape, these are essential for prayers that are conducted outside the mass. Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran denominations commonly use these.
  • Mitres: Abbots and Bishops are known to wear this headdress. Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran denominations use it during masses and other services.

Who Owns the Vestment?


In general, the parish owns the vestments worn by priests. At times, the priests or the leaders are gifted these vestments by parishioners, friends, or family. It is crucial to note that the parish owns the regular liturgical vestments.

Where to Buy a Vestment?


There may be a few things that you must be aware of before you choose to buy a vestment as a gift or for practical use. Here are some of them:

  • Culture that the church follows
  • Material that the vestment should be made of
  • Standard protocols on color.

These are only a few things about vestments amongst all churches. However, your church might have specific standards and protocols that you have to be familiar with before buying.

One of the better ways to purchase vestments would be to consider all the options available and compare them. Using reviews and testimonials will help you to a certain extent if you are looking at an online or offline store.

You can check out to find different types of vestments. You may also find vestments on sale in these stores that would help you get a good discount. Moreover, reading these testimonials and reviews would ensure that you would not end up buying the wrong product.

Some websites also offer churches customized vestments. It is to ensure that the vestment is on par with the requirements and recommendations of the church. Ideally, the ordering part of these vestments can be done with a knowledgeable church leader.


We have tried to include all details associated with vestments in this article. From the origin of vestments to where they are sold, we have included everything in this guide. We hope you get to learn more about the vestments from this post.