Meaning of the Clerical Garments
"Make sacred garments for your
brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor" (Ex 28:2).
When Tom Brown was ordained as Bishop there were certain garments and items used. This page is to give you a list
of the clothing and items used and their meaning.
The Clerical Shirt was invented by a
Rev. Dr. Donald McLeod. a
Presbyterian Minister, not a catholic. He did this to convey that the
minister should be a servant of the people and that he should be
separate from the world. It is also a good uniform to identify him as a
minister to the community.
The Alb means "white tunic." It speaks of
purity and righteousness. The minister, though he is subject to sin,
trusts in Christ's finish work that makes him righteous in God's sight.
The Alb covers his whole body, except his feet. His feet is exposed to
remind him that, though he is forgiven, he must give an account of his
walk with God.
The Stole is a reminder of the towel wrapped around Christ that
He used to wash the feet of his disciples. So the minister, likewise,
must wash the feet of the disciples of Christ. He is there to serve, not
to be served.
The Cope means
Cape or Cloak. It is the garment that expresses the anointing of the
Holy Spirit upon the Bishop. This means that God is the One who Anoints
the Bishop with the Holy Spirit to function supernaturally with all the
Gifts of the Spirit. Like Superman's cape, the Cope should remind the
Bishop that he has supernatural power.
The Mitre is the Bishop's hat. This funny looking hat actually
has meaning. Its strange shape symbolizes the tongues of fire that came
upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. The tassels that flow down
the shoulders symbolizes the anointing coming from the head of the
church flowing down to the body, its members.
Another meaning of the Mitre is that both Old and New Covenants "meet"
together. The New fulfilling the Old. The shape of the Mitre is that of
two mountains (Old Covenant at Mount Sinai and New Covenant at Mount
Calvary) meeting together. The two bands at the back represent the two
The Pectoral Cross is easy to understand. Without the cross we
are dead in our sins. The cross pressed to his chest, reminds the Bishop
that in his heart he must hold dear the sacrifice of Christ and must
preach Christ and Him Crucified.
The Crosier is the Bishop's Rod and Staff. It reminds the Bishop
that he is the shepherd of the sheep. It is his duty to comfort and
correct the sheep.
The Bishop's Ring is the reminder that the Bishop, like Christ,
is married to the bride.
The Bishop must be committed to the church and must be faithful to her
and refuse to commit adultery with the world's teachings.