Clergy Stole Shop welcomes you. We are a family business that cares!  We  offer fast next day delivery and 1-3 days international delivery. Our showroom, Ipswich, Suffolk  is open Mon-Fri 0900-1500 UTC and we are at various events over the year so check out our events calendar. We also offer a bespoke custom design stole to your requirements for that very special occasion.

Some History of the Clergy Stole

Clergy stoles are often made in many different fabrics. They vary in length. The ends of the clergy stole can be straight or flared out to a wider width. There are different styles available and they can be used on their own or as part of as set. Clergy wear the stole with the centre flat against the back of the neck. This allows the long ends to drape down the wearer’s body in a parallel fashion. Depending on the denomination, there may be other specific variations to how the stole may be worn. Clergy stoles are plain or decorated with religious symbols.

Hand embroidery is very traditional and machine embroidery stoles are available as a cheaper alternative. Different colours, also known as liturgical colours, are also used. They signify various seasons in the church, such as a white stole being used for Christmas services. However, some denominations also use separate colours to differentiate between ranks or degrees held. Originally, the clergy stole was a larger shawl that covered more of the body. Over time, it became narrower, with richer ornamentation to indicate a mark of respect or dignity for the wearer. Most agree that the stole used today has history in the Imperial offices of the Roman Empire, where similar stoles were used to designate rank and honour.

The origin of the stole is pre-Christian but since the sixth century it has been prescribed to be worn by all the clergy. In the seventh century the stole was worn by all priests celebrating mass and was worn crossed over in front of the alb, secured in place by the girdle.

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