Heads of the Church of the Holy Land, waiting to continue marching

A Field Guide to Christian Clerical Clothing

Since my tour-guide school days I have been deeply baffled by all the different colors, textures, styles and symbols of the Christian clergy's garments, knowing full well that there were codes and meaning to every little detail, but never quite figuring them out. I could tell Catholic from Orthodox just fine, but the subtle differences between the headpieces of say, Russians and Greeks, were just lost on me.

This problem was somehow avoidable until this Easter, when I found myself preparing to guide in Jerusalem during the celebrations (which I wrote about here), and realized that I'd be marching with countless people of all denominations in their formal vestments, and I had no idea what almost any of them meant. However, unlike tour-guide school, this time I won't have my teacher there to decipher everything, but instead be myself the source of that information.

After shaking off the horrifying imaginings of clients tapping my shoulder again and again with questions about the people they were seeing, only to be met every time with "uhh, I donno", I took to Google Photos to try and learn, but met with some confusion there as well. It turns out you really need to know what you're looking for, or you can get even more lost. If only I'd had some sort of comprehensive guide to help me make heads or tails of the various garments and denominations....

Well.

When it became clear that there wasn't anything like that, I thought I might as well be the one to make it, and after some revisions and suggestions by my esteemed teacher and colleague Bat-Zion Ziv, I'm happy to make available to anyone interested my Field Guide to the Christian Clerical Clothing of Denominations Found in Israel. The last page also has a section about the heads of the church in the Holy Land, so you can know their names and faces if you happen to run into one of them. I claim no ownership to any of the photos - I only organized them in context. Feel free to print them out and use to deepen your understanding of what you see along your travels in this fascinating land.

Images of priests and monks from different denominations, demonstrating their typical attire

Images of priests and monks from different denominations, demonstrating their typical attire

Images of priests and monks from different denominations, demonstrating their typical attire

Images of the typical attire of Eatern Orthodox Christian priests

Images of nuns from different denominations, demonstrating their typical attire

Images of monks and nuns from different denominations, demonstrating their typical attire, plus images of important Christian figures in Israel

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