Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 33.


From Egypt the Hebrews brought the shoe. Wealthy people of both sexes wore richly ornamented shoes covering the whole foot. Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, and other monuments show that kings wore sandals and shoes before the time of Abraham. Isaias mentions "The latchet of their shoes," 1 and numerous texts of the Old Testament show they were very common. 2
Sometimes they were of cheap material. 3 But noble Hebrew ladies wore elaborate shoes 4 of violet color, 5 with woven greaves coming up almost to the knees. They were worn walking outside the house, but put off at the door when entering Temple or house, following Moses' example, whom God total to put off his shoes when approaching the burning bush. 6 In Jericho's plains Josue took off his shoes at the angel's orders. 7 Fleeing from Absalom, David took off his shoes as a sign of a penance. 8 Wealthy women wore the costly shoes spoken of in Canticles, 9 which God mentioned to the prophet. 10 Judith wore these beautiful shoes, or sandals, when she cut off Holofernes' head. 11 Afterwards brides presented costly shoes to their betrothed.
Poor Jews of Christ's time wore sandals or shoes made of straw, rushes, etc., tied on with strings, and these are the "poor man's shoes," of the prophet Amos. 12 But shoes were generally made of leather, the latter being placed in the street to be trampled on till tanned. You may see these skins in the streets of Jerusalem to-day trampled over by passing people.
Peculiar customs rose. The wife put on and took off her husband's shoes at the door. The widow, whose brother-in-law would not marry her, "Shall take off his shoe from his foot." 13 Servants and disciples dressed and undressed their master's feet, 14 and carried their shoes after them. 15 As a sign of the contract, the seller gave his shoe to the buyer. 16 After the shoes were removed the feet were washed at the door by the wife, child or servant. But if the master wished to honor his guest he did this himself, following the example of Abraham when the angels visited his tent. 17 To go barefooted was a sign of sorrow, of which the prophet says, "Keep thy foot from being bare." 18
God forbade the prophet to take off his shoes as a sign of sorrow, when his wife died, and told Isaias to go barefooted.


Temple priests always ministered barefooted, and they complained continually of the cold pavements. Thus we see how the shoe figured in Hebrew history.
Some writers hold that Christ went barefooted, others that he wore sandals, still others that he wore shoes. The latter seems the most probable opinion, for he dressed as a noble Jew of his day, and John the Baptist protested he was not fit to loose the "latchets of his shoes." The Jews celebrating the Passover were to wear shoes by order of God himself. 19 This law was strictly followed in the time of Christ. Therefore we conclude that the Lord and his apostles put on their shoes before beginning the Passover. This perhaps is the reason the bishop puts on his shoes in the Church before his other vestments when he is about to pontificate. Sandals and shoes were commonly worn by the early Christians, and Clement of Alexandria 20 severely condemns the men and women who wore highly ornamented ones. 21
The Jews of the days of Christ wore clothes copied from the Temple vestments or followed Greek and Roman styles. They were clothed in many different garments, because of the changes of climate. 22
Why did God order the priests to wear drawers? We must go back to those days when paganism spread over the nations, and to which the Hebrews were so addicted. Every Friday pagan priests and people worshiped the goddess Venus with vile ceremonies, for she was the patron of immodest love. Herodotus writes that every woman of Babylon had to worship her by committing adultery once in her life. There she was called Beltis; in Syria she was Astarte; in Greece Athene, in Rome Venus; but she was known by other names, and unmentionable wickedness was committed in her honor. Going up and coming down the stairs from her altars, her votaries lifted up their clothes exposing themselves. 23 As a protest against these public immoral ceremonies, God told Moses to clothe the Hebrew priests, who had to ascend to the high sacrificial altar, in linen drawers, and the custom
spread among the people and has come down to our day.


The Jews of the days of Christ clothed themselves in a long seamless garment like a cassock, which they called the cutoneth and the Greeks the xiton. 24 Josephus writes that it was made of a single piece of cloth without seams, with or without sleeves, and was closed at the neck with a string. The priests always wore it without seams, and this was the seamless robe of Christ.
A modification of it of fine linen worn next the body became the shirt. Made of wool, covering the person from the neck to the feet it was opened in front, but closed with little buttons and gathered at the waist with the girdle. It was of the same form of the priest's cassock of our time. All men of the Orient wear it in our day, and it has the very same form as the clergyman's cassock.
Rulers wore this garment of different colors. That of the high priest was white, and he wore it all the time, putting over it his priestly vestments. This is the reason the Pope's cassock is white, for he is the High Priest of mankind. Jewish Rabbis still wear a white cassock the Day of Atonement.
The Roman emperor's cassock was of brilliant red and this color is seen in the cardinal's red cassock. Kings and members of royal families wore a purple cassock— purple being the mark of authority and dominion. Hence high officials of courts wore purple. Members of royal families dressed in purple even if their dynasty did not sit on the throne. Christ, being a Prince of the House of David, highest honored of the Hebrew kings, wore this purple garment. He is often represented in art as clothed in a purple robe, the cutoneth or xiton. This is the reason bishops wear a purple cassock, for that was the color of Christ's cassock at the Last Supper.
The Temple priest's cassock was of linen. But laymen wore a white woolen cassock called the simehah. The desert Arabs, who never change, still wear it as an everyday garment. This gave rise to the white alb the priest wears at Mass; it was always put on as a sign of gladness at feasts and when celebrating the Passover. Christ and his apostles, it seems probable, were clothed in it at the the Last Supper. This cassock was worn by both sexes at time of Christ. It was sometimes white or of various colors. It was the nuptial garment mentioned in the Gospel. 25


Men of the Roman empire wore it covering the whole person. In the middle ages it was cut short coming down to the knees, and became the frock-coat or "Prince Albert" of our day. The buttons in the back were used to fasten on the sword when nearly all men went armed. But although the sword has been laid aside the buttons have remained. The women's cassock became the gown or dress. The women of the Orient still wear it, having over it a skirt which they raise up and cover their head and upper part of the body with it when they appear in public. 26
To shield the shoulders from the fierce desert sun they let the ends of the turban fall down on the back behind. You will find the sons of the desert still wearing the garment falling down that way. The desert heat is so great, and the sunlight reflected from the dry sands so piercing, that the skin would be blistered if not shaded. This is seen in the Scotch cap, sailor hat, and perhaps bands of bishop's miter.
They came to feast with head and upper part of the body protected that way. 27 It was a relic of the patriarchal period, when their fathers, as shepherd sheiks, pastured their flocks on the borders of the desert. The Hebrews celebrating religious, civil, and family feast wore it on their shoulders. After the banquet they took it off. 28 Rulers and wealthy persons wore these amices made of costly materials.29 Sometimes it was made as large as a tunic, and covered the upper part of the body to the knees. This was the origin of the amice.
When the cincture was first used Ave know not. We first find it in the consecration of Aaron's sons to the priesthood. 30 In the house the Hebrews in the days of the Kings laid it off and put it on when they went out. But by lapse of time the Jews wore it all the time. 31


They wore two kinds of girdles in Asia, one was a sash about six inches wide, which was fixed with a clasp in front the ends hanging down. It was of leather, 32 wool, linen, or other material. John the Baptist was clothed with a tunic of camel's wool bound up with a leather girdle, such as you see today worn by the Bedouin of the deserts. The wealthy wore girdles of wool, linen, or costly material, sometimes of silk woven, embroidered and tied in front or at the side. 33
Women wore the girdle fastened in front with a buckle, brooch or other ornament, 34 often they were made of costly material. 35 Being wide the folds served as pockets. Arabs stick swords, daggers, etc., in the girdles. 36 These vestments can be seen in the sculptured figures on the great platform of Persepolis where stood the palaces of the great Persian kings before Alexander conquered that country. The girdle survives in the waistbands and belts women wear in our day.
The priestly girdle called the Abnet was a linen band three fingers broad, very long, with tassels adorned with various colored embroidery work. 37 Wound around the body during his ministry, the priest threw the ends over his shoulders as the clergymen of the Oriental Rites still do. 38 Josephus says "the ends were tied in a knot in front, and hung down to the feet,'' as the celebrant ties the girdle in our day. The men of Palestine still wear the girdle wound around their waist many times.
Girdle and alb are fundamental religious vestments of earth and heaven. The beloved apostle saw the Son of God thus clothed. "And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about near the paps with a golden girdle." 39 "And the seven angels came out of the temple having the seven plagues, clothed in clean white linen, girded about the breasts with golden girdles." 40 The Church, Bride of the Lamb, thus clothes her clergy at her altars as she is vested in heaven. "And to her it hath been granted that she should clothe herself with fine linen glittering and white. For fine linens are the justifications of saints." 41 Thus all down the ages the white vestments represent the purity and innocence of those who minister at our altars.


The tunic called in Hebrew chaluk or kethoneth, in Greek chiton is found first in history as the garment of skins God made for Adam and Eve after the fall. 42 When weaving was invented, it was made of woven wool or linen and bound round with a girdle. The Temple priest's tunic was woven without seam, worn next the skin as a shirt, covering the linen drawers and flowing down to the knees. The shoes they wore in Moses' day were laced up to the knees, and youths of both sexes wore long tunics failing to the ground like a priest's cassock. John's Greek Gospel says Christ wore a tunic which he calls the xiton, which was under the seamless garment. 43
The first tunics had no sleeves, but soon short ones were added, and later they were made to cover the arms to the wrist. Babylonians, Persians, Jews, etc., wore the tunic as a shirt, and over it another garment of more costly material like a cassock. 44
Rabbis, leaders in Israel and wealthy people of Judea wore two tunics, the inside one serving as a shirt. The over tunic was called the sarbalin. We find no record, but it seems reasonable to suppose, that Christ conformed to this custom and wore two tunics at the Last Supper, for four times the Gospels mention the two tunics translated "coats." This is perhaps the reason that the bishop wears two tunics when pontificating. The inside vestment is now called the tunic and the outside one the dalmatic, because the Dalmatians wore the latter as a national distinctive garment. 45
Over the two tunics they wore a large flowing square garment called the Talith in Hebrew, or Imatian in Greek. It was one of the oldest garments worn by man, and is pictured on the monuments of Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, etc., as a priestly garment the kings vested in when offering sacrifice.


Wealthy and noble Jews wore it five or six feet wide and it hung down behind forming a train. At the neck it was fastened with a clasp. In fine weather the front ends were thrown back over the shoulders and hung down the back, these being called wings. 46 Often they threw the two front angles or corners over the left shoulder, and carried the trail on the right arm.
This garment was worn by the Hebrews when leaving Egypt, and we read that they carried the dough of the Passover in their cloaks. 47 The folds of this great mantle or cloak, were often used as a pocket. 48 The poor rolled themselves in its ample folds, folded up their girdle, laid it on a stone to serve as a pillow, thus they slept either on the floor, or on the ground outside—a custom still followed in Palestine and other parts of Asia. For this reason God forbade money-lenders to keep this garment overnight when pledged for a loan. 49 "But thou shall restore it to him presently before the going down of the sun, that he may sleep in his own raiment." 50
In the translations of the Old Testament, this garment is rendered by the words cloak, mantle, vestments, etc., and is mentioned hundreds of times. At the time of Christ money-lenders got around the law by taking the tunic as a security. 51
This great cloak, or cope, changed in size and shape by the lapse of time, so that when Christ walked the earth and wore it, it had become the Meil, a garment falling to the knees with holes for the arms and head.
Formed of two parts covering the back and breast, it was fastened on the sides with clasps of gold adorned with jewels. 52 Later, sleeves were added to the garment. Although it belonged to the high priest, by lapse of time noble and famous men wore it. 53 Ezechiel mentions it ornamented with embroidered work. 54 The vestment was worn in the days of the prophets, for Daniel says a modification of it was used as an inside shirt, and the sculptures of Babylonia prove his words. 55
This was the prophet's mantle the Hebrews named the talith, the Greeks the imatian or elisus. It was a great cloak falling from the shoulders to the ground, and covering the whole person like the cope worn at vespers. 56


This was the sign of the prophetic office of these seers of old who went before the Lord clothed in this garment often made of skins, wandering over Judea, pouring out burning words of the Holy Spirit relating to the Redeemer of whom the world was not worthy. 57 With it Elias, "My God is Jehovah," divided the waters of the Jordan. 58 Often it was made of sackcloth as a sign of penance. 59
Did Christ wear this prophetic cope at the Last Supper? It was the border of his imatian the woman touched when she was healed. 60 The sick touched his imatian on the shores of Galilee and were cured. 61 In the transfiguration his imatia, translated vestments, became white as snow. 62 When they got through mocking him after the flagellation they put on him his imatia 63 the very vestments the soldiers divided among themselves on Calvary. 64
The Prophet's talith, or in Greek imatian, modified became the Greek sindon, which wealthy Hebrews wore as a large over-tunic often mentioned in the Old Testament 65 and in the Greek Gospels. Often made of fine linen it was worn next the body by the wealthy as a night shirt, and became the shroud. It was the great grave-cloth in which the wealthy Nicodemus and Joseph wrapped the body of the dead Christ. 66
According to the custom of a noble Jew celebrating the Passover, Christ put on this Prophet's mantle, in Latin the Pluvial, in Greek the imatian, in Hebrew the Taleth, 67 its four corners being covered with embroidery called Ciccilh, "Fringes," to remind them of the Law of Moses. "Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt tell them to make to themselves fringes in the corners of their garment, putting in them ribbons of blue. That when they shall see them, they may remember all the commandments of the Lord." 68 This was the origin of the embroideries and decorations of Church vestments. These decorations on our vestments represent Christ, his Passion, etc., to remind the people of the crucifixion, and religious truths.


This great garment covered the whole person, like a cloak, and was ab0ut the shape and form of the cope. In this form it is still worn by the Greek, Russian, and Oriental clergy as a chasuble. This was its form in the early Latin Church. The deacon had to lift up the garment so the celebrant could put out his hands. But about the twelfth century they cut the sides, because they did not always have a deacon to serve Mass. That has been the form of the chasuble till our day. But as a remnant of the deacon holding up the great chasuble, the altar boys and the ministers at Mass still hold up the chasuble when incensing the altar and at the Consecration. The tunic and dalmatic tied or pinned up during Lent are a survival of that custom of the middle ages.
The people, especially the women of that time, wore a garment like a cloak the Greeks called the Stole and the Romans the Stola. 69 The front was an ornamental band adorned with embroidered work. They often sent this band to friends they wished to honor, who sowed it on their stole. By lapse of time, and because they wore so many other vestments, this band was worn alone and became the stole. As the Hebrews wore this at the Passover and feasts, it came to pass that the clergy of the early Church always wore it during religious functions. This is the stole of today which the higher clergy wear in their ministry.
In the Syro-Chaldaic spoken by the common people of Christ's day it was the Arbah Canphoth, "The Four Corners." According to the words of God to Moses it also had fringes. "Thou shalt make strings in the hem at the four corners of thy cloak." 70 The "fringes" or "strings" called ciccith or Zizith were to remind them of the Law. For that reason they were first of blue, the color of the covenant between God and Israel. Later Talmudic writers allowed them to be made of white cloth. 71 These had an influence on the embroideries, ornaments, and figures of our vestments. 72

1 Isaias v. 27.

2 Jud. x, 4; Matt. iii. 11, x. 10; Mark i. 17; vi. 9; John i. 27; Migne, S. Scripturæ iii. 918.

3 Amos ii. 6.

4 Jud. x. 3.

5 Ezech. xvi. 10.

6 Exod. iii. 5.

7 Josue v. 16.

8 II. Kings xv. 30.

9 Cant, of Cant. vii. 1.

10 Ezech, xxiv. 23

11 Judith x. 3, xvi. 11.

12 Amos ii. 6.

13 Deut. xxv. 9; Isaias xx. 2.

14 Mark i. 7.

15 Matt. iii. 11.

16 Ruth iv 7, 8.

17 Gen. xviii. 4.

18 II. Kings xv. 30; Jeremy ii. 25; Ruth iv. 7, 8.

19 Exod. xii. 11.

20 In Padog. Book II., Cap. ii.

21 See Migne, S. Scripturæ ii. 1153, 1157. 1158; iii. 918; Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 624, 626, gives a description of the clothing Christ wore.

22 Geikie, Life of Christ, vol. i. pp. 151. 152, 171. 180, etc; Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ, vol. iii. p. 1025, etc.

23 Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 26. etc.

24 Farrar, Life of Christ, II., 281; Edersheim, Temple, p. 73.

25 Matt. xxii. 11.

26 Benedict XIV. in his great work, De Missae Sacrificio, Book I., Cap. vii. to Book II. elaborately treats of the vestments and their mystic meanings.

27 Gen. xxvii. 27; Psalm xlv. 9; Cant. of Cant. iv. 11.

28 Ezech. vii 20

29 IV. Kings v. 5; Matt, x. 10; James v, 2.

30 Exod, xxix. 8.

31 See Migne, S. Scripturæ, iii. 908.

32 IV. Kings i. 8.

33 Jeremy xiii. 1.

34 Cant. vii. 3.

35 I. Kings.s xxv. 13; II. Kings xviii. 11, etc.

36 II. Kings xx. 8.

37 see Migne. iii.908.

38 Exod. xxviii. 8, xxxix. 29

39 Apoc. i-13.

40 Apoc. xv. 6.

41 Apoc. xix. 8.

42 Gen. iii. 21.

43 John xix. 23.

44 Prov. xxxi. 21; Matt. x. 10; Luke ix. 8; Mark vi. 9.

45 Benedict XIV. De Sacrificio Missæ, C. vii. n. 6; Migne, Cursus Completus, S. Scripturæ, v, iii. 1250.

46 Aggeus ii. 13; Zach. viii. 23; II. Kings xv, 20.

47 Exod. xiii. 34.

48 IV. Kings iv. 89.

49 Exod. xxii. 26.

50 Deut. xxiv. 18.

51 Matt. v. 40.

52 Exod. xxviii. 6,7, etc.

53 Job xxix. 14; I. Kings xviii. 41; I. Kings vi. 14.

54 Ezech. xxvi. 16.

55 Dan, iii. 21.

56 Geikie. Life of Christ, i. 180. 549.

57 Heb. ii. 36, 37.

58 B. C. 896. IV. Kings ii. 8.

59 Zach. xiii. 4.

60 Matt. ix. 20, 21.

61 Matt. xiv. 36.

62 Matt. xvii. 2.

63 Matt, xxvii. 21.

64 Matt, xxvii. 35.

65 Judges xiv. 12; Prov. xxi. 24; Isaias iii. 23.

66 Luke xxiii. 53.

67 See Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 567 aud ii. 386.

68 Numb. xv. 38, 39.

69 See Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 508.

70 Deut. xxii. 12; Numb. xv. 38.

71 Talmud, Mem. iv. 1.

72 Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 180.