Thursday, 4 October 2012

Cope & Mitre

I wondered if learned readers well versed in matters ecclesiastical could enlighten me as to whether the bishops of the Church of Ireland wear the episcopal cope and mitre at ceremonial services nowadays?

The archbishops of Armagh and Dublin do wear such attire occasionally.

Will the Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke wear the cope and mitre which Archbishop Harper wore? Or does each bishop have his own unique attire?

I should be glad to see the revival of such a tradition myself.


The Earl Bishop said...

M'Lord Belmont,

The Constitution of the Church of Ireland.

Chapter XI The Canons
Paragraph 12 Ecclesiastical apparel

(1) Archbishops and bishops at all times of their public ministration of the services of the Church shall use the customary ecclesiastical apparel of their order.

(2) Every member of the clergy at all times when ministering publicly the regular services of the Church in a church building
(a) may wear a cassock,
(b) shall wear a plain white surplice with sleeves and the customary black scarf or a stole, and
(c) may wear bands, and the hood pertaining to any university degree or other academic qualification held by that member of the clergy:
Provided that any member of the clergy shall be at liberty to wear a plain black gown while preaching.
No member of the clergy shall wear any other ecclesiastical vestment or ornament.

In response to your original question.... The use of mitre and cope by a Bishop rests entirely with the conscious of said Bishop. However, the use of mitre and cope is not a particular tradition of the Church of Ireland. The former Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Rev Father in God Dr John Neill, did wear a mitre and a cope. The current Lord Bishop of Cork, The Rt Rev Paul Colton does wear a cope and mitre. The previous Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, The Most Rev Father in God Alan Harper wore a ghastly mitre and cope. The Archbishop elect of Armagh has been known to wear a cope and mitre.

The Earl Bishop said...

*One should always style the Archbishop of Armagh as,

"The Most Reverend Father in God His Grace Doctor Richard Clarke, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate and Metropolitan of All Ireland"

Timothy Belmont said...

that answers it. Do you think Archbishop Harper's vestments were owned by him personally? Presented by the diocese? Or diocesan property?

I expect the cope & mitre don't come cheap.

Timothy Belmont said...

This will be of interest; from an ecclesiastical source:

Armagh Cathedral possesses the fine cope and mitre that Archishop Harper wore for The Queen's Maundy visit. I am not aware that he ever wore them on other occasions! He has now presented them to the cathedral and so they could be worn by the new Archbishop. The latter's ministry has been spent mainly in the Republic of Ireland, where mitres now commonly appear on bishop's heads as well as on their notepaper. This of course could either encourage him or deter him from wearing one in Armagh! The previous Archbishop of Dublin, John Neill, habitually wore a mitre. On the other hand the present Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, does not. It would be fair to say that mitres are worn quite often in the Republic of Ireland and very rarely in Northern Ireland.