Bishop attire is not entirely consistent across all sects and denominations and what a bishop ultimately wears will depend not only on tradition and office but also on the liturgical calendar as well as the ceremony in question.
Nonetheless, the following garments and accessories are common amongst entries of traditional bishop attire:
● Alb (or Rochet): The alb is an ankle-length, white linen garment that is often worn under the chasuble but over the other vestments. Sometimes in its place, a bishop wears a rochet, which is knee-length and worn as a part of choir dress.
● Cassock: The cassock is a long clerical robe that is worn as the “everyday dress” of the ordained. It is often girt about the middle by a belt known as a cincture. The cassock is commonly colored black but may in the case of a bishop be purple.
● Chasuble: The chasuble is an outer vestment worn during mass, over the top of the other vestments. It looks like a mantle and is frequently purple but the color may change according to the liturgical calendar.
● Pectoral Cross: Bishops wear a special pectoral cross signifying their bondage to the church, either over the mozzetta or in a suit’s breast pocket.
● Miter: The miter is the liturgical headdress of the bishop and one of the unique identifying features of this office. It is a tall, pointed headdress with two lappets that hang down from the back.
● Mozzetta: The mozzetta is a long purple cape that is unique to bishops and is one of the garments that is worn over the cassock. It is worn for special ceremonies, buttons in the front and reaches to the waist.
● Zucchetto (or Biretta): The zucchetto is a small, silk cap worn by Catholic bishops. Bishops wear purple zucchettos; cardinals also wear them, as does the Pope. Cardinals’ are red and the Pope’s is white. Bishops may also wear another type of purple cap with three points known as a Biretta.
An interesting fact is that while “royal purple” is the color typically associated with bishops, for much of ecclesiastical history bishops actually wore green vestments and other clerical garments.
However, by around 1500 the church switched over to “amaranth red” which in practice is actually much more closely reminiscent of a purple color like fuchsia.
Today, many bishops are arrayed in a purple very similar to this, with the exception of the alb or rochet, which will always be white, the pectoral cross and ring, which are made of metal, and in some other cases, in which the color black is permissible.
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