The Sacred That Surrounds Us: The Stole
December 19, 2021, 12:00 PM
The position of the stole differentiates priests from deacons. The priest’s stole is a garment worn around the neck and over the shoulders (similar to a yoke) and is a sign of his priestly authority. If a chasuble is worn over the stole, both will match in color, reflecting the color of the liturgical season. The deacon wears his stole over the left shoulder and crossing under the right arm.
The stole is first mentioned in the West in the sixth century, and the first reported use of a stole is in the eighth century. It is very commonly mentioned after the ninth century, and the manner of how it was used early on is reportedly similar to that of today’s use. The stole was much longer and narrower in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and its design has changed numerous times over the past ten centuries.
The stole is a very important part of the vestments of the priest and indicates their ordained position within the Church. When vesting, the priest will kiss the cross that is generally embroidered on the stole before putting it on. The prayer the priest has the option to pray as he vests in a stole is: “Lord, restore the stole of immortality, which I lost through the collusion of our first parents, and, unworthy as I am to approach Thy sacred mysteries, may I yet gain eternal joy.”
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29