- Feb 3, 2009
- Reaction score
- Mazovia, Poland
Yesterday, the NLM website published some photos of this year's Orthodox Palm Sunday celebrations in Jerusalem: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2011/04/palm-sunday-in-byzantine-east-church-of.html. Some people made a couple of comments about vestments coulours in the Orthodox Church:
Green = color of palms.
The Orthodox (especially the Russians) use red a lot -- most Russians use red for Paschal liturgies,,for example -- and it doesn't have the same connotations and meanings for them as it does for modern Roman Catholics.
Green is also used by the Russians for Pentecost.
The color schemes used by the Orthodox have been in some flux in the past couple of decades, with new customs coming into play. Red for pascha, for example, became universal in Russia only in the 1970's to the 1990's, and now it has begun to spread to Alexandria and Jerusalem.
Are these statements accurate? I'm asking especially about the red (vs white) for Pascha. I've been to two Orthodox Paschal Liturgies so far (in the Polish Orthodox Church) but I guess I wasn't paying too much attention to vestments coulors... In this video from Russia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=005C6nbYxyY there are both red and white vestments at different points of the service(s) -- why so?Green for Palm Sunday seems to be a Jerusalemite/Middle Eastern practice. The local Melkite Church, whose priest studied at their seminary in Jerusalem, wears green.
Red for Pascha among the Russians comes from the fact that the Slavonic word for "red" and "beautiful" is the same: krasny. The Slavonic Liturgicon tells the clergy to wear their "krasny" vestments for Pascha. (BTW--"Red Square" can properly be rendered "Beautiful Square/Plaza".)
Archbishop Dmitri, a retired OCA bishop, has a set of red velvet vestments with gold frogging he wears only for Pascha and Nativity.
The usual Orthodox practice is to wear white for Christmas and Pascha (or the most beautiful and ornate, regardless of the color), Green for Pentecost, Blue for Marian feasts, and dark vestments for Lenten Weekdays. Gold is the ordinary color.
But then, St. John of Kronstadt wore red most of the time because he liked red!