Anteri vs exorasson

meestro

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#1
Forgive me if this topic is beyond (or perhaps below) the scope of this forum. Is there a prevailing teaching/thought regarding the reader wearing an anteri vs exorasson? Is there a historical difference between the psalti vs the reader wearing one or the other? It seems that for the Greek parishes in the US, the tradition is varied. In most other Orthodox jurisdictions in the US, the reader always wears the anteri, as it is seen as the base-level clerical garb, rather than a liturgical vestment, per say. When did the exorasson start being utilized for the reader & psalti positions? Is this not a condescension from its typical priestly use? To my untrained eye, it seems that the exorasson, in this case, is turned into a 'black' choir robe.

Thanks for any input or direction,
Anthony
 
#2
Can't speak to the history; I'm at an Antiochian parish and wear an exorasson. I'm the only tonsured reader who chants; the other readers wear an anterri. When I was purchasing my exorasson, vestment maker Kh. Krista West (of http://www.kwvestments.com) told me that the difference between the priest's exorasson and the cantor's exorasson was the width of the sleeves.

Beyond that, it seems to me that I have been told about an encyclical from the Ecumenical Patriarch about psaltes wearing exorassa -- in particular, speaking against the practice of adding color to the collar or lining to distinguish it from the priest's exorasson. Somebody else may be able to speak to just what was going on there.

Richard
 
#5
Dear Anthony,

I am assuming you can read the threads that Fr. Maximos referenced, but for the benefit of the members who cannot read Greek, here is a summary of the information in those threads, which is primarily based on works by Dr. Emmanuel Giannopoulos and Dr. Evangelia Spyrakou.

The reader/cantor belongs to the minor clerical orders. As such, he receives ordination from a bishop and is expected to lead an exemplary Christian life. This type of ordination is called χειροθεσία in Greek, whereas the term χειροτονία signifies ordination to one of the major orders (deacon/presbyter/bishop). In most sources the terms “reader” (ἀναγνώστης) and “cantor” (ψάλτης) are used interchangeably and appear to be equivalent in terms of hierarchical ranking. However, there are different services of ordination to each.

In the past readers/cantors wore bright vestments of various colors (e.g. purple, blue, red, orange, etc.), such as the phelonion (today worn only by priests and bishops), sticharion (today worn by clergy belonging to the major orders as well as altar servers), kamision (which was perhaps similar to the phelonion), sfiktourion (robe with wide sleeves and belt), etc. Evidence of this can be found in sources that date as far back as the 4th century (St. John Chrysostom). They also wore two different types of hats, the boat-shaped skiadion and the cylindrical, usually white, skaranikon, which was similar to a bishop’s mitre. The 24th Canon of the Synod of Laodicea (363-364) expressly forbids readers/cantors from wearing an orarion (worn only by deacons).

In the 17th century a more monastic appearance was adopted by all the clerical orders. Nowadays, during the performance of his liturgical ministry, a reader/cantor is allowed (or rather required by the Ecumenical Patriarchate) to wear an exorasson (pl. exorassa), which should not be exclusively associated with the office of a presbyter, or an anteri (pl. anteria). The vast majority of cantors wear exorassa. A sticharion (pl. sticharia) is also permissible. However, it is almost never used in Greek-speaking churches. I have only witnessed cantors/readers wearing sticharia once during a celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. James the Brother of the Lord.
 
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#6
Dear Richard,

When I was purchasing my exorasson, vestment maker Kh. Krista West (of http://www.kwvestments.com) told me that the difference between the priest's exorasson and the cantor's exorasson was the width of the sleeves.
Not really. Even though exorassa with less wide sleeves or with red collars are often made for and worn by cantors, there is no canonical reason for a distinction between a priest's and a cantor's exorasson.


Beyond that, it seems to me that I have been told about an encyclical from the Ecumenical Patriarch about psaltes wearing exorassa -- in particular, speaking against the practice of adding color to the collar or lining to distinguish it from the priest's exorasson. Somebody else may be able to speak to just what was going on there.
That's correct. Additionally, here is a relevant quote by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (source: http://www.ec-patr.org/docdisplay.php?lang=gr&id=379&tla=gr); the translation is mine):

"Cantors are not singers, but clerics who co-liturgize the Gospel along with the higher clergy and complement the work of the preacher and the spiritual father. They are not “divas” – please forgive the neologism –, but hierophants of God’s mysteries who perform a divine work that is rather befitting to the holy angels. For this reason they are dressed in the modest black cloak, the humble rasson of the Orthodox cleric, while the Archon Protopsaltis also wears the monastic headdress, which manifests the prudence, the virtue and the divine grace that abide in him. Unfortunately, we are justifiably concerned when we see some cantors in unbecoming garments with crimson or purple collars or sleeves, and occasionally with golden emblems, which betray a secular pride and a spiritual emptiness and transform God’s cantor into a pitiable sight."
 
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