Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • David A. LeemingEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_726

Vestments are the garments worn by priests and other religious leaders in the performance of sacred rites. The term is used especially by Christian denominations which place particular emphasis on the sacrament of Holy Communion, the liturgy of the Eucharist. Thus, priests of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and most of the Anglican Communion wear vestments while celebrating the “mass” or “great liturgy.” Vestments of various types and colors, depending on the liturgical season of the church year, are worn. The most common and most visible Eucharistic vestment is the chasuble, a poncho-like garment that originated in Roman times.

The psychology behind vestments would seem to have to do with the priest’s need during the sacred liturgy (service) to cover his particularity and individuality behind a “uniform” – a recognizable symbolic garment – so that he (or she in some traditions) may become the representative of his church as a whole. It is not father X saying mass; it is a...

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  1. Norris, H. (2002). Church vestments, their origin and development. Mineola: Dover.Google Scholar

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Blanton-Peale InstituteNew YorkUSA