Monday, November 15, 2010

Priests Vestments - The Cincture

The Cincture is a liturgical vestment, worn encircling the body around or above the waist. In the Roman Catholic Church, the cincture is a long, rope-like cord with tassled or knotted ends, tied around the waist outside the alb. The colour may be white, or may vary according to the colour of the liturgical season.
As deacons tie their stoles on the right, they often fasten the cincture on the left nstead. Priests and bishops usually have the knot of their cincture in front of them; the loose ends are often passed around the stole and tucked through the waist of the cincture at each side. When the cincture is tied in the front and the ends draped on either side, it is called a Roman Knot. Besides its functional role in securing the alb and stole, the cincture bears a symbolic role, signifying chastity and purity.

The material of the cincture is preferably flax or hemp, but wool and silk — the latter especially for occasions of solemnity — are not prohibited. This material is woven into a cord, and the ends are usually decorated with tassels, By way of ornament strands of gold and silver thread are sometimes introduced, particularly in the tassels at the extremities. The prayer now recited by the priest in putting on the cincture, "Gird me, O Lord, with the girdle of purity", etc., strongly suggests that this vestment should be regarded as typical of priestly chastity. Like the other Mass vestments, the cincture requires to be blessed before use.

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