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December 16, 2003

Dei gratia, gloria mundi ...

For those who wondered, the Monk is in this picture. He's the one on the right facing the camera.


The vestments seen in this photo are made of Clothe of Gold, that is, they have gold wire running lengthways down the clothe and gold coloured silk across. They are used only for important feasts such as Christmas and Easter and are as heavy as you would expect. My nephew thinks its cool he has an uncle that dresses up like something out of Harry Potter!

The origin of these vestments lies in first century Rome, the Tunical and Dalmatic worn by Deacon and Sub Deacon (and sometimes the Cross bearer as well, but without adornment) are the outer garments of the Roman citizen, the Chasuble, worn by the Priest is originally the garment worn as a weather proof "poncho" by soldiers and sometimes the citizenry. It is symbolic of the Priest's duty to fight for the spread of the Gospel and to be a Soldier of Christ.

Yes, such vestments cost a small fortune, but these are the gift of the people of the church to the glory of God. These particular ones were given between the wars as a memorial to a family's fallen sons, and I can think of no more useful monument.

Interestingly, Henry VIII and the King of France met, on the Field of the Clothe of Gold, in 1520, both dressed in Clothe of Gold, in tents made of it and all their courtiers arrayed in it. It was reportedly a very hot day, and the gold clothe dazzled the eyes of onlookers. A King's ransom turned into clothes for a bit of Statesmanship a la Tudor!

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 16, 2003 11:05 PM


Beautiful vestments. I do hope you don't have to wear them for an extended period of time. With the weight of the cloth, it must be taxing on the shoulders. And, based on the 'small fortune' the vestments are worth, I'll assume they are kept in a locked vault for safekeeping.

Posted by: cindy at December 18, 2003 04:47 AM

That is oddly fashionable, I must admit... :-)

Posted by: Paul Jané at December 18, 2003 06:21 AM

Usually for about an hour and a half at a time. You're right Cindy, they are heavy and you feel instantly lighter when you take them off. Yes, Paul, fashion, like history is cyclic.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 18, 2003 03:51 PM

Wow, the Gray Monk really is a monk! Now, there's truth in advertising for you. But why Gray?

Posted by: Ron Bell at December 21, 2003 03:59 AM

Well, it could be for the Grey Friars, on the other hand it could be an attack of bad spelling, or perhaps simply a name I'm stuck with. Actually I'm only a part time monk, the rest of the time I'm dealing with saving souls from a more immediate fire - but which may lead to the other place as well!

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 21, 2003 05:57 PM

So ... you're a PT monk AND a fireman? Do I win the prize for the correct guess? And the other places are ....????

Posted by: Cindy at December 23, 2003 08:29 PM

Actually I'm now a Tutor Instructor in the "science" of fire safety engineering, inspection, enforcement and assessment, but yes, I was an operational Fire Fighter and Officer for most of my career. Full marks! After the fires of this physical state, there is only the favourite Preacherman's vision of a Fiery Hell to avoid. But, maybe I'll be among friends there anyway ...

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 23, 2003 10:26 PM