Epps Receives Gifts from Israel

July 21st, 2016 by Admin

Bishop David Epps Receives Israeli StoleMike and Marian Wilton, of Palmetto, are parishioners at Sharpsburg’s Christ the King Church. While on a recent trip to Israel, they decided to bring back a liturgical stole from the Holy Land for David Epps. Epps, who is the pastor of the church, is also the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South, which includes Georgia and Tennessee. The stole is reversible. One side is green and the other side is white which means it can be worn during several liturgical seasons and events, including Ordinary Time (Kingdomtide), Epiphany, Easter, Christmas, and during weddings, funerals, and baptisms.

The stole, for decoration, has several embroidered “Jerusalem crosses.” The Jerusalem cross, also known as a Crusaders’ cross or the “Five-fold Cross”, is a heraldic cross or Christian symbol consisting of a large cross potent surrounded by four smaller Greek crosses, one in each quadrant.

The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design
The word stole derives via the Latin stola, from the Greek (στολή), “garment”, originally “array” or “equipment”.

The stole was originally a kind of shawl that covered the shoulders and fell down in front of the body. After being adopted by the Church of Rome about the seventh century (the stole having also been adopted in other locales prior to this), the stole became gradually narrower and so richly ornamented that it developed into a mark of dignity. Nowadays, the stole is usually wider and can be made from a wide variety of material.

There are many theories as to the “ancestry” of the stole. Some say it came from the tallit (Jewish prayer mantle), because it is very similar to the present usage (as in the minister puts it on when he or she leads in prayer) but this theory is no longer regarded much today. More popular is the theory that the stole originated from a kind of liturgical napkin called an orarium. In fact, in many places the stole is called the orarium. Therefore it is linked to the napkin used by Christ in washing the feet of his disciples, and is a fitting symbol of the yoke of Christ, the yoke of service.

The most likely origin for the stole, however, is to be connected with the scarf of office among Imperial officials in the Roman Empire As members of the clergy became members of the Roman administration they were granted certain honors, one specifically being a designator of rank within the imperial (and ecclesiastical) hierarchy. The various configurations of the stole grew out of this usage. The original intent, then was to designate a person as belonging to a particular organization and to denote their rank within their group, a function which the stole continues to perform today. Thus, unlike other liturgical garments which were originally worn by every cleric or layman, the stole was a garment which was specifically restricted to particular classes of people based on occupation.

Today, most ministers simply regard the stole as symbolic of the burden of the church placed upon the minister and as the symbol of the Holy Spirit that enables him/her to bear such a burden.

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