The Clerical Alb

  •  Moses Mwicigi
  •  Wednesday, 17/07/2019

The alb (from the Latin albus, meaning white), is an ample white garment coming down to the ankles and is usually girdled with a cincture (a type of belt, sometimes of rope. It is simply the long, white linen tunic used by the ancient Romans.

As a simple derivative of ordinary first-century clothing, the alb was adopted very early by Christians, and especially by the clergy for the Eucharistic liturgy. 

Nowadays, the alb is the common vestment for all ministers at Mass, both clerics and laypersons, and is worn over the cassock and under any other special vestments, such as the stole, dalmatic or chasuble. If the alb does not completely cover the collar, an amice is often worn underneath the alb. The shortening of the alb has given rise to the surplice, and its cousin the rochet, worn by canons and bishops. Post-Tridentine albs often were made with lace. 

Variants

chasuble-alb is a contemporary Eucharistic vestment that combines features of the chasuble and alb. A stole of the colour appointed for the Mass of the day is worn outside it, in place of the normal white alb and coloured chasuble.

cassock-alb is a vestment that combines features of the cassock and alb. It developed as a more convenient undergarment worn by clergy and as an alternative to the alb for deacons and acolytes.

Buy your Alb at Bethany Gift Shop