Saturday, 1 December 2018

As Advent Begins

At the beginning of this Season of Advent, a debate regularly emerges about the use of "blue" vestments. The use of blue has advocates and fierce opponents.

Exactly what colour, however, is being suggested as Advent "Blue"? Is it the same colour as the flowers called "violets"? If so, then using that colour in Advent is not only permissible, but is embedded within the Church's Traditions. Some years ago, we presented an article about the history of the use of "violet" for vestments of the Roman Rite.

Click the links for Part One of the article and Part Two of the article.

In the adjacent illustration, a prelate of the Roman Court is shewn wearing choir dress.  What is distinctive is that the colour of the prelate's manteletta is not the Roman purple that is familiar now for prelates, but violet. Up until the beginning of the 20th century (and even beyond in some places, such as France), violet was very common - even usual - for the choir dress of prelates.  Perhaps we may be permitted to regret that it no longer is.

This colour is the more traditional shade of "violet" used by the Church, despite the prevalence of darker shades now, which are more akin to "indigo".