Chasuble Buying Guide
The extensive assortments and colors available when you are shopping for chasubles can be overwhelming. This guide will give you pointers on what to look for and what to expect when buying a chasuble.
Now associated with the 1962 Pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass, the fiddleback chasubles were developed in the late 1500s when heavy material and ornate embroidery made the chasuble very stiff. To accommodate the priest’s movement, the front was cut away from the arms giving it the distinct fiddle-like appearance. Fiddlebacks made today are generally as comfortable as other vestments but are still decorated with gold orphreys and fancy brocade.
The more ample gothic and semi-gothic chasubles predate the fiddleback chasubles but did not regain popularity until the twentieth century. They are easily recognized by their Y-shaped orphrey and are usually designed with a brocade material.
Most commonly used in the Novus Ordo Mass is the modern style chasuble which is not too dissimilar from the semi-gothic but employs a greater variety of orphrey designs and colors.
In shopping for chasubles you’ll find such a large variety of designs that you might think any color or design is appropriate for liturgical use. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, there are only five official colors approved for use in North America.
White – Used for feasts of Christ, except those of His Passion, feast of Our Lady, and feasts of non-martyred saints. May also be used for funeral Masses.
Red – Used for feast of Our Lord’s Passion, feasts of martyred satins, and feasts of the Holy Spirit.
Green – Used during ordinary time.
Rose – Used on Gaudate Sunday (third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (fourth Sunday of Lent).
Violet or Purple – Used during Advent, Lent, and at funerals (in the United States).
What about those other colors?
Gold and Silver may be worn on solemn feast days in the United States.
Black may be worn at funerals.
Blue is for use only in certain dioceses in Spain.
Multicolored vestments may only be worn for the predominant color.
Burlap and “little children” were not mentioned so they cannot be counted among the appropriate colors.
Design and Sizing
The shape of the modern chasuble can be either a round design that tapers at the bottom or a monastic design that is straight along the bottom. Either can have an assortment of neck styles including short collars, cowl collars, round halo collars and pointed yoke collars. Many of our chasuble manufacturers will custom make a chasuble for you with these different options at no extra charge. In fact, modern manufacturing techniques have made custom design work so easy that you can have your favorite saint image embroidered onto a chasuble for only a marginal fee.
A standard chasuble on our site is approximately 57in. wide and 51in. long. This is suitable for most people, but larger and smaller sizes can be made at your request.
Almost all our chasubles come lined and include a matching underlay stole.
Many of our semi-gothic and fiddleback chasubles include a matching burse, veil, stole and maniple. While the modern chasubles only include an underlay stole, matching veils, burses, and lectern hangings can generally be custom ordered. And don’t forget, you can always complete the set with a cope, humeral veil, dalmatic, deacon’s stole, mitre, and pall.
Countries of Origin
You may have found a source for chasubles under $100, maybe even $49.95. When it comes to vestments you really do get what you pay for. All of our vestments are made with quality in the USA, Great Britain, Poland, Italy or other countries and you can be assured that none of our vestments on our site are manufactured in China.
If you have any questions about fabric, custom options, or need more specific information, please speak to one of our customer service representatives.