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October 24, 2022

Did You Know?: Symbols of the Bishop

Did You Know? The Symbols of a Bishop Have Roots in the Ancient Church

An Education & Communication Series from the Bishop Nominating Committee*

Bishop’s apparel can be intriguing. The Mitre is the headdress worn by bishops and has been used for at least 1,000 years. They’re usually white, gold or red, and have two tails called “lappets,” on the back. The shape of the mitre represents the tongues of fire that rested on the heads of the disciples during the Pentecost. A bishop receives a mitre during his or her ordination, when the Holy Spirit comes to the new bishop. They’re worn during parts of the liturgy, but the bishop always removes it when offering prayers to God.

The Cope is a ceremonial cloak that is semicircular and richly ornamented, with a clasp in front and a hood in back. The shape is derived from the outdoor overcoat worn in the Roman empire. Bishops may wear a cope at the Eucharist during the entrance procession and during the liturgy of the word. He or she sometimes wears it when performing Episcopal functions such as ordinations and confirmations.

The Crozier symbolizes the shepherd’s crook and is a sign of the pastoral authority of a Bishop. In liturgy, the diocesan bishop carries the crozier in the left hand, with the crook facing outward. It is mainly used in their diocesan jurisdictions, and its use dates to the seventh century.

More Information & Resources
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  • Click here to read recent written and video communications from the Standing Committee.
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*Bishop Nominating Committee

The Standing Committee Members
President - the Rev. Dr. Ben Nelson, TMI Episcopal, San Antonio
Mrs. Nancy Beauchamp, Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi
The Rev. Scott Brown, TMI Episcopal, San Antonio
Dr. Liz Manning, Holy Spirit, Dripping Springs
Mr. Richard Mosty, St. Peter’s, Kerrville
The Rev. Matthew Wise, St. Mark’s, San Antonio

The Assisting Members

Mrs. Thurma Hilton, St. Richard’s, Round Rock
The Rev. Alex Holloway, St. Margaret’s, San Antonio
The Rev. John Inserra, St. Alban’s, Harlingen
Ms. Andrea Knight, Resurrection, Windcrest
The Rev. Karen Morris, Emmanuel, Lockhart
The Rev. Arnoldo Romero, St. James, Del Rio

Photo credit to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Episcopal Church in North Texas, and Lauren Vereen of St. Peter's Church, Kerrville.

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