During the Reformation, the break with tradition and clerical vestments was slow and gradual.' In the place of the clergy vestments, the Reformers adopted the scholar's black gown." It was also known as the philosopher's cloak, as it had been worn by philosophers in the fourth and fifth centuries." So prevalent was the new clerical garb that the black gown of the secular scholar became the garment of the Protestant pastor.'
The Lutheran pastor wore his long black gown in the streets. He also wore a round "ruff" around his neck that grew larger with time. It grew so large that by the seventeenth century the ruff was
Jones, Historical Approach to Evangelical Worship, 119-11/. Mayo's History of Ecclesiastical Dress goes into great detail on the development of each piece of the clerical vestments through each stage of history in each tradition. No distinctive headdress was worn for the first thousand years, and the girdle was not known until the eighth century. Elias Benjamin Sanford, ed., A Concise Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (New York: Charles L. Webster & Company, 1890), 943.
Mayo, History of Ecclesiastical Dress, 27; (sidore of Pelusium (d. around 440) was the first to ascribe symbolic interpretations to parts of the vestments. The entire priestly garb was given symbolic meanings around the eighth century in the West and the ninth century in the East (Catholic Encyclopedia, 5.11. "Vestments."). The Medievals had a love affair with symbolism, so they could not resist giving all the vestments religious "spiritual" meanings. These meanings are still alive today in liturgical churches.
Senn, Christian Worsh/p and Its Cultural Setting, 41. The vestry, or sacristy, was a special room in the church building where the clerical vestments and sacred vessels were kept.
Mayo, History of Ecclesiastcal Dress, 27.
Collins and Price. Story of Christianity, 25, 65.
Mayo, History of Ecclesiastical Dress, 64. Zwingli and Luther quickly discarded the garments of the Catholic priest. Hall, Faithful Shepherd, 6.
Zwingli was the first to introduce the scholar's gown, in Zurich in the autumn of 1523. Luther began to wear it in the afternoon of
October 9, 1524 (Niebuhr and Williams, Ministry in Historical Perspectives, 147). See also George Marsden, The Soul of the American
University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 37.
H. I. Marron, A History of Education in Antiquity(New Yoit: Sheed and Ward, 1956), 206. "The philosopher could be recognized by his cloak, which was short and dark and made of coarse cloth." See also Smith, From Christ to Constantine, 105.
Niebuhr and Williams, M/nistry in Historical Perspectives, 147. The black gown was "clerical streetwear" in the sixteenth century
(Senn, Christian Worship and Its Cultural Setting, 42).
called "the millstone ruff."' (The ruff is still worn in some Lutheran churches today.)
Interestingly, however, the Reformers still retained the clerical vestments. The Protestant pastor wore them when he administered the Lord's Supper." This is still the case today in many Protestant denominations. Just like Catholic priests, many pastors will put on their clerical robes before lifting the bread and the cup.
The garb of the Reformed pastor (the black gown) symbolized his spiritual authority." This trend continued throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Pastors always wore dark clothing, preferably black. (This was the traditional color for "professionals" such as lawyers and doctors during the sixteenth century.)
Black soon became the color of every minister in every branch of the church." The black scholar's gown eventually evolved into the "frock coat" of the 1940s. The frock coat was later replaced by the black or grey "lounge suit" of the twentieth century.'
At the beginning of the twentieth century, many clergymen wore white collars with a tie. In fact, it was considered highly improper for a clergyman to appear without a tie." Low church clergy (Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.) wore the collar and necktie. High church clergy (Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc.) adopted the clerical collar—often dubbed the "dog collar.""
The origin of the clerical collar goes back to 1865. It was not a Catholic invention as is popularly believed. It was invented by the Anglicans." Priests in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries traditionally wore black cassocks (floor-length garments with collars that stood straight up) over white garments (sometimes called the alb).
* Chadwick, Reformation, 422-423. Mayo, History of Eccles/astical Dress, 66. Bowden and Kemeny, American Church History, 89. Mayo, H/story of Ecclesiastical Dress, 77-78. Ibid., 118. Ibid., 94. Ibid., 94, 118.
Niebuhr and Williams, Ministry in Historical Perspectives, 164. According to The London Times (March 14, 2002), the clerical collar was invented by the Rev. Dr. Donald McLeod of Glasgow. A popular belief is that the clerical collar was invented by the Catholic Counter-Reformation to prevent priests from wearing large ruffs like Protestant pastors wore (Chadwick, Reformation, 423). But it seems to have come into being well after this.
In other words, they wore a black collar with white in the middle. The clerical collar was simply a removable version of this collar. It was invented so that priests, both Anglican and Catholic, could slip it over their street clothes and be recognized as "men of God" in any place!
Today, it is the dark suit with a tie that is the standard attire of most Protestant pastors. Many pastors would not be caught dead without it! Some Protestant pastors wear the clergy collar as well. The collar is the unmistakable symbol that the person wearing it is a clergyman.
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