Monday, June 4


Coping with Non-Vestigal Hoods

One of the most satisfying of liturgical vestiments must certainly be the cope.

The liturgical cope is derived from the ancient Roman lacerna, a semi-circular garment wrapped around the shoulders for protection from rain. The ecclesiastical use is first attested by at the martyrdom of St. Cyprian in A.D. 258.

As a rain coat, the lacerna (naturally) had a hood. The hoods for most copes are vestigal--that is, no longer functional hoods, but a piece of flat, usually decorated, cloth where a normal hood would once have been:

Indeed, the existence of a hood (real or vestigal) is precisely what differentiates a simple mantle from a cope.

But, interestingly, in the first half of the twentieth century, there was a trend in England (particularly at Westminster Abbey) towards reviving use of an actual, non-vestigal hood in copes, as at the coronation of King George VI and other grand occasions:

I would be really interested in seeing other examples of the non-vestigal hood in modern copes.

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