CLERICAL ROBES

 

PUT YOUR FAITH
IN OUR HANDS

Birch's has a very large ecclesiastical department and for many years have been supplying Religious Vestments to churches and Religious educational institutions throughout Southern Africa and are recognised suppliers of these specialised garments.

 


 

 

 

WHAT OPTIONS
DO WE HAVE?

From albs to cassocks, from chasubles and surplices to decorative Bishops vestments, all our vestments are handmade by skilled craftsmen based in Grahamstown. Birch’s has an extensive range of styles available and use the finest fabrics, which have been globally and locally sourced. Examples of detailing such as black braid, slivers twisted cord trimming and ornate embroidery have created beautiful vestments for churches all throughout South Africa. Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements in further detail.

 


 

 

WHAT OUR ROBES
ARE MADE OF

Birch’s hand tailored robes are created to the highest standards. Imported 100 % Cotton finished with imported silk finish creates a classic robe which hangs superbly.

  • Other fabrics include Wool
  • Polyester Cashmere / Texturised Polyester
  • Made to Measure (Bespoke)
  • Dry Cleanable
  • Locally and globally sourced fabrics
  • Designed, Woven & Made in South Africa.

 


 

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT OUR ROBES

Cope

The Cope’s history originates from the Pluvial, the Byrrus, Lacerna and the Cappa Nigra. The Cappa Nigra has always been worn as an outer garment by the clergy, originally without any liturgical significance. Gradually (by the eighth century) better quality materials and silks were being used in a variety of colours.

During the next two centuries the cope evolved in similar style to the vestments. By the thirteenth century the cowl, or real hood had dwindled to a small triangle or flap of material and in due course this developed, without reverting to its original form or function, to become larger and comparable to the flat hood of modern copes. During the period of 'Opus Anglicanum' (± AD 900 - 1500) the cope became splendidly elaborated in ornamentation typically depicting birds and animals on highly coloured silks, using gold thread and blazed with colour and the richest of embroideries to vestment, orphreys, hood and fastening morse. It's popularity spread throughout Medieval Europe.

Chasuble and Alb

The Chasuble’s origins are in the Paenula of classical times worn as an outdoor cloak, complete with Cowl or Cucullus. By the fourth century the Paenula had developed without an open front seam, usually circular or elliptical in shape and worn full length. It became known as the casula (casa, the little house). This was due to its tent-like look. In the sixth century it was adopted by the Clergy and was described in Middle English as the Chesible.

The shape was modified to allow extra freedom for the hands by shortening of sides and front of the Vestment. The traditional arrangement of orphreys was a secular, folded scarf that by the eighth century had simplified into a circular stole with front and back tailpieces.

The ‘Y’ shaped yoke was adopted in Europe during the ninth century, but after the Pallium fell into disuse as a seperate item of vesture. However, its symbolism was retained in the form of orphreys attached to the Chasuble. By the tenth century the cowl had generally been discarded, been replaced by ornamental bandings. During the great age of Opus Anglicanum, and until the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Chasuble became the most splendid of vestments richly embroidered on the finest silks.

Above are just a few examples taken from our vast range of Clerical Attire. Please contact us for more information or for a brochure to be sent to you.