Psaltoraso redux

#1
Some time ago there was a discussion about the exorasson of the cantor. I wanted to make everybody aware that Presbytera Krista West, the vestments maker extraordinaire from the Portland, Oregon area, has published a book through St. Vladimir's Seminary Press titled The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture. She says the following about the psaltoraso:

The outer cassock, known as the "exorason" in Greek or "ryasa" in Russian, is the more voluminous form of the cassock and is worn over the inner cassock in semi-formal, formal, and liturgical settings. Of elegant design, the exorason features the same front and back construction as the zostikon, but instead of angled fronts a triangular-shaped section is sewn to each front and the particular cut of this piece allows the fronts of the garment to overlap along the center without any closure, save for the hook-and-eye closure at the mandarin collar (whereas the zostikon has multiple collar variations, the exorason invariably features a mandarin collar). These front edge panels are fully lined so that, when they fall open as the wearer walks, the back side of the piece is as beautiful and finished as the front side. The garment employs the same general sleeve panel arrangement as the zostikon, but instead of a tailored sleeve-and-gusset combination it has a very large kimono sleeve sewn to a side panel which has eight-inch vents at the hem to allow greater freedom of movement while walking. The width of the sleeves is an indication of rank: chanter's width sleeves are approximately thirty-six inches in circumference, the deacon's and presbyter's are forty-eight inches, and the bishop's width is sixty inches. The sleeves have a six-inch deep lining that is made from the same fabric used for the lining of the front edge panels. The sleeves are worn long, typically two to three inches longer than inner cassock sleeves and thus covering the hands entirely when the wearer stands with his hands at his side. [...]

In the Greek tradition the exorason is worn for services by chanters and sextons (liturgical assistants with the narrowest-width sleeves and with no inner cassock underneath... Orthodox faithful in North America are sometimes puzzled by this liturgical use of the exorason by members of the laity, particularly when it is worn by women chanters. In this regard it is helpful to note that the narrow-sleeved version of the exorason is essentially the traditional Greek Orthodox Christian version of a choir robe. In Greece the chanter's exorason is often made distinctive by the placement of galloon or colored, decorative banding upon the collar. (West, The Garments of Salvation, pp.114-116, emphasis mine)
My recollection is that the points I've bolded were a source of some discussion in the past; now that there is actually some English language literature on the matter I'll be curious to see the response.

In any event, the exorasson Presbytera Krista made for me has been an exceptionally fine liturgical garment, and I highly recommend her week, dispute over sleeve width or not.

Richard
 
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apostolos

Απόστολος Κομπίτσης
#3
In Greece the chanter's exorason is often made distinctive by the placement of galloon or colored, decorative banding upon the collar.
I believe there has been some discussion in this forum regarding colored collars and sleeves for the chanter's rasso. These are relatively new "additions" to the rasso, but are not traditional.

Back in 2005, His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew gave a speech at the memorial event for Archon Protopsaltis Vasileios Nikolaidis in which he addresses this very issue. His All-Holiness specified that the chanter's rasso is plain black with NO colored collars and sleeves and even expressed "justifiable concern and bitterness" of the fact that some chanters choose to wear this type of non-traditional rasso. The full text of the Patriarch's speech can be found in English HERE. (The original Greek text is HERE.)

Hope this helps.

Apostolos
 
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