The sacred vestments of the Priest and Deacon are as follows (Numbers listed in the text next to vestments correspond to those provided in the two illustrations on the left and right, respectively):
The Priest wears:
- The Sticharion (6)
- The Epitrachelion (4)
- The Zoni (3)
- The Epimanika (2)
- The Epigonation (5) [only for the Dignitaries]
- And the Phelonion (1)
The first five of these are the same as those of the Bishop. Only the Phelonion is different, as it is the special vestment of the Priest.
Description: This is the cape, the upper most Vestment, which covers the entire body in the back and goes below the waist in the front; it covers all the other vestments. It is usually decorated with an embroidered Cross or Icon on the back
Symbolism: It represents the purple cloak placed on Christ before the Crucifixion and denotes that the Priests are invested with truth and should be ministers of the truth.
Prayer: “Thy priests, O Lord, shall clothe themselves with righteousness and Thy Saints shall rejoice.” (Psalm 132:9)
The Deacon wears:
- The Sticharion (6)
- The Epimanika (4)
- And the Orarion (2).
The first two are like those of the Bishop and Priest. The Orarion is a special vestment of the Deacon.
Description: The Orarion is the stole worn by the Deacon. It is symbolic of the angels’ wings, the servants of God and signifies that it is the Deacon’s responsibility to be a servant of the Church.
Prayer: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of your glory. (Isaiah 6); always now and forever through the ages of ages. Amen.
The men who wear these sacred Vestment, the celebrants (Bishops, Priests or Deacons) they become different men. These people become instruments of God. The Holy Spirt will work through them. Whatever individuals they are outside of the Church, when they officiate they are representing Jesus Christ through whom the grace of the Holy Spirit is given to the faithful. This is indicated by one of the beautiful prayers of the celebrant during the Divine Liturgy:
“None of those who are bound with the desires and pleasures of the flesh is worthy to come unto Thee or to approach or to serve Thee, O King of Glory…Nevertheless, through Thine infinite mercy…look down upon me Thy sinful servant and cleanse my soul and heart from an evil conscience; and enable me by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, Who has invested me with the grace of the Priesthood, to stand at this Thy Holy Table…turn not Thy face from me, but make me, Thy sinful and unworthy servant, worthy to offer these Gifts to Thee…”