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Knowing the Differences Between Albs and Surplices

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Have you ever experienced being mistaken in identifying an alb from a surplice? Many church-goers would find a difficult time in distinguishing these vestments since the two look closely alike. However, there are a number of ways for one to differentiate albs and surplices.

The alb is an ample white garment that is usually girdled with a cincture and is one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and many Methodist Churches. It is also a long linen tunic used by the Roman. During the early Medieval in Europe the alb was normally worn by secular clergy in non-liturgical contexts. Among the liturgical vestments, the alb is the twelfth oldest. It was adopted by Christians especially by the clergy for the Eucharistic liturgy.

At the present time, the alb is a common vestment among the ministers in a mass. It is worn over the cassock and under special garments such as the stole, dalmatic or chasuble. An amice is often worn underneath the alb if in case the alb does not completely cover the collar. Most commonly in Anglican parishes, the alb is designed with apparels. Meanwhile, in some lower and broad Anglican churches, the alb is used as an everyday wear. Because the alb was shortened for use outside the church, the event has given rise to the surplice. That’s why today, we have the albs and surplices.

A surplice is also a liturgical vestment of the Western Christian Church. It is usually made of a tunic white linen or cotton fabric, reaching to the knees or to the ankles, with wide or moderately wide sleeves.

Originally, the surplice in the Anglican tradition was a long garment with open sleeves reaching nearly the ground. However, in the Roman Catholic tradition, the surplice is often shorter, with closed sleeves and has square shoulders. Anglicans typically refer to a Roman-style surplice with the Medieval Latin term cotta which means 'cut-off' in Italian, as it is derived from the cut-off alb. English-speaking Roman Catholics, on the contrary, typically do not make the distinction between the two styles, and prefer to term it a ‘surplice’.

Speaking about the significance of the alb as a liturgical vestment, it symbolizes the innocence and the purity that should adorn the soul of the priest who ascends the altar. That is why; anyone can observe that in Western Churches the alb is a long, white linen liturgical vestment with tapered sleeves which symbolizes purity. While the alb is commonly white in the Western Church, it can be of any color in the Eastern Church.

Albs and Surplices are just two of the vestments used in liturgical celebrations. Finding designs and looking for available pieces of these vestments that are ready to be bought is no longer a problem since a lot of shops already offer these vestments. Looking for albs and surplices? Try to visit www.Churchgoers.com and satisfy your need for these vestments. The site caters to everyone’s needs when it comes to church apparels and offers products in affordable and reasonable prices.


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