28 November 2020

Eastern Rite - Omophorion

Today occur the Feasts of St. Stephen, "the Younger." Venerable Martyr who suffered martyrdom with Three Hundred and Forty-Three other Christians, victims of the fury of the Iconoclast Emperor Constantine Copronymus A.D. 766, and of St. Irenarchus, and Seven Women, Martyrs, who suffered death with him A.D. 292.

In the Eastern liturgical tradition, the omophorion is one of the bishop's vestments and the symbol of his spiritual and ecclesiastical authority. Originally of wool, it is a band of brocade decorated with crosses and is worn about the neck and around the shoulders. By symbolizing the lost sheep that is found and carried on the Good Shepherd's shoulders, it signifies the bishop's pastoral role as the icon of Christ.

Clergy and ecclesiastical institutions subject to a bishop's authority are often said to be "under his omophorion."

When the rubrics call for the omophorion to be removed and replaced frequently, the standard great omophorion is replaced for the sake of convenience with the small omophorion, a shorter band worn after the manner of an epitrachelion. 

The equivalent of the omophorion in the Latin Rite is called the pallium.

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