Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

White Garments

were worn by the clergy as early as the 4th century, and the use has been continued to the present time in the ritualistic churches. White garments were also worn by persons newly baptized. In the Latin Church this vesture came immediately before confirmation, but in the Greek Church immediately after. This ceremony was to represent the having put off the old man with his deeds, and having put on the new man Christ Jesus. Those who wore the garments ware called, in the Greek, λευχειμονοῦντες , and in the Latin, grex Christi candidus et niveus (the white flock of Christ). The garments were delivered to them with the following solemn charge: "Receive the white and immaculate garment, which thou mayest bring forth without spot before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou mayest have eternal life. Amen." These garments were commonly worn eight days, and then laid up in th urch he church. The day after Easter is mentioned as the day appointed for this purpose. That was the conclusion of the Paschal festival, and then the neophytes changed their habit; whence that day is thought to have the name of Dominica in Albis; and Whitsulnday (q.v.) is said to be so called from this custom of wearing white robes after baptism.' These being laid aside, were carefully preserved in the vestries of the church as an evidence against men if they afterwards violated the baptismal covenant. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. book 13, chapter 8; book 12, chapter 4; and book 20, chapter 6.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'White Garments'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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