The cassock, also known as a soutane,
is a long, sheath-like, close fitting, ankle
by Christian celebrants of various denominations,
including Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
The cassock derives ultimately from the
was formerly worn underneath the
It comes in a number
of colours, which have traditional meanings.
The ordinary priest's cassock is black.
Bishops traditionally wear purple ones;
cardinals, of course, get red ones, and
the Pope's cassock is white. In tropical
climates, ordinary priests frequently wear
The cassock comes in a number of styles,
though no particular symbolism attaches
to these. A Roman cassock has many buttons
down the front; a French cassock has fewer
front buttons, but buttons sewn to the sleeves
after the manner of a
a broader skirt. A Jesuit cassock has a
fly fastened with hooks.
Cassocks are sometimes worn by lay people
when they are assisting with the liturgy
in church. In most Western countries, the
clergy have generally abandoned the cassock
as everyday clothing in favour of a clerical
suit of more conventional design.
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