View of Vestments
Antiquarian Versus Ritualistic
and Sacred Vestments in General

The view of vestments as regards the history of Church Vestments states that there are two schools of thought - the “Ritualistic” and the “Antiquarian” view.

The Ritualistic Method

The Ritualistic method is that process which maintains and seeks to prove that the Vestments of the Christian Church are modeled directly upon the Vestments of the Jewish Priesthood.

As the Prophet Moses, by the command of Almighty God, formulated minute instructions for the shape and usage of these, so this school of thought claim an indirect Divine appointment for the Christian Vestments.

The Antiquarian View

The Antiquarian view or method is the process of gaining knowledge of the Vestments of the Church by a study of archeology and a patient comparison of the works of authors and artists of successive periods. The pictorial representations of the Catacombs, Mosaics of the earliest Churches and the Mortuary figures of Ecclesiastics on ancient tombs furnish the chief material for this study.

It would seem that somewhere between these two schools of thought about the view of vestments lies the probable truth. While the balance of probability is enormously in favor of the Antiquarian theory, it does not cover certain changes which were made in the textures, outlines and numbers of Vestments used in the Church in her early years.

Later, changes were introduced to assimilate, as far as possible, the Jewish and Christian ceremonial dress. Thus it may be confirmed that both views contain an element of factual truth.

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