As regards the propriety of bestowing the crossed orarion on acolytes or
readers, who have no legitimate claim to wear it, I, too, find this to be an
inconsistency. However, the practice is so deeply embedded in our usage
that it will prove almost impossible to root out, were one (or even a
bishop) inclined to try.
I, too, have heard it said that the sticharion is in direct line of descent
from the baptismal robe. However, in recent years there have been scholars,
theologians and liturgists who challenge this theory. Sadly, I can't recall
where I last saw this matter discussed, but will ask around and try to come
up with a citation or two. It would seem to be a matter which our fellow
list members might find interesting.
>From: Expanding Edge LLC <business@...>
> "Isaac E. Lambertsen" wrote a complete history regarding the ROCOR's
> clarification of the rule that non-ordained clergy should remove the
> insignia of the offices which they are blessed to serve in, which I
> snipped; very interesting however.
>> As to altar-servers/acolytes having to remove oraria and sticharia, at least
>> one list member seems to recall that this was the practice at St. Tikhon's
> And Fr. A. Morbey mentioned that it is the practice at his cathedral in
> However, I do have a couple of questions. I understand the propriety of
> removing the orarion in this case (I'm not arguing with the idea; just
> arguing that it might not have been universal)-- but indeed, I have
> always wondered why we bless people to wear it, if they aren't really
> subdeacons in the first place?
> Also, regarding the sticharion-- my understanding is that,
> notwithstanding the fact that one is blessed at one's ordination to the
> Readership to wear it when serving, this vestment really is historically
> and in all traditions of both east and west, everywhere, nothing other
> than the baptismal robe. I guess the reason why we remove it, is that it
> has become the de facto symbol of a reader's office, but that's not
> really historically true. The other insignia are the insignia of office,
> and the Reader's is the miniphelonion, not (technically) the sticharion.
> And we are all to come to communion in our baptismal garments, in one
> way or another. In view of that, I don't see why non-ordained altar boys
> are required to remove their sticharia.