29 November 2020

Eastern Rite - Mantiya

Today's Feasts are:  SS. Paramon and Philemon, martyrs: the former martyred during the reign of Emperor Decius, A.D. 250; the latter under Aurelian, Emperor.

Our venerable father, Bessarion.

Venerable Acacius, spoken of in "The Ladder of Perfection."


A mantiya, Church Slavonic: мантия; Greek: μανδύας - mandyas; English: mantle, is a monastic garment in the form of a very full cape which extends to the floor. It is joined at the neck and is worn over the outer garments.

In the Catholic Churches of the Byzantine rite, the mantiya is a garment worn only by monastics, including bishops, hegumens, archimandrites, and other monastics, in processions and while attending certain church services, such as Vespers or Matins. It is not when vested to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

The mantiya was originally a cape worn to ward off the cold. It was first mentioned in the Old Testament, as a garment worn by several prophets including Elijah and Elisha. In 4 Kings 2:11-14, the mantiya, passing from Elijah the prophet to Elisha his successor, symbolizes the passing of prophetic authority. 

Ancient icons showing monks wearing the mantiya attest to their use from the earliest Christian times. The original monastic mantiyas were made of simple material in black, brown, or grey, depending on what was at hand. As time passed, the use of mantiyas of a particular color and style came to be established as specific monastic vesture. Over the years distinguishing colors and ornamentation came to be applied to the mantiya to distinguish monastics of varying positions within the church, while still reminding them of the need for monastic humility.

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