Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catholic Priestly Vestments- Part IV

The maniple (mappula, manipulus, fanon) is a narrow strip of material similar to the stole (see below), worn over the left forearm or upper arm; formerly, the ends hung down freely, now, however, they are sewed together. The material was originally linen, but at present it is the same as that of the chasuble (see below). The rich ornamentation of the maniple usual in the Middle Ages, when it was longer, has now almost disappeared. Not more than three crosses are required, while one satisfies the rubric. It is worn by bishops, priests, deacons, and subdeacons, and, as a rule, only during the office of the mass. The origin of this vestment, the liturgical use of which can be proven from the eighth or ninth century, is not certain. It is commonly regarded as having been originally a handkerchief; recently an attempt has been made to connect it with the arm-bands worn by the assistants at the heathen sacrifices. The symbolism is strength, endurance.