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  • Adam Embry

A Theology of Vestments, Part 2

This is a blog series entitled, "A Theology of ..." written by various Anglican priests and deacons in our Jurisdiction.

We continue with a theology of vestments by The Venerable Dr. Timothy T. Ullmann, Dean, Parishes and Missions Deanery. For part 1, click here.

Priest’s Prayers Before the Holy Eucharist

One of the most notable actions an Anglican priest needs to do is prepare himself spiritually to serve at God’s Holy Altar. How can one serve in the Altar by arriving moments before a worship service, namely the Holy Eucharist, without time to quiet the soul, pray, and prepare for holy service? It’s spiritually impossible.

In this blog three prayers are offered for your awareness and use: Vesting Prayers, the Preparation for the Holy Eucharist Prayers, and Prayers While Removing Vestments. Regrettably, these prayers have been lost over the decades; however, they were the regular practice of Anglican priests, and are still said by those who take seriously their spiritual charge of serving in the Altar. (1928 Prayer Book usage.)

Before the priest celebrates the Holy Eucharist, it is customary to pray a set of “vesting prayers” to spiritually prepare for the Holy Eucharist. While these prayers are not obligatory, their use is recommended since they help in the priest’s preparation and recollection before the celebration of the Holy Eucharistic. The vesting prayers call to mind the particular vows a priest professes on the day of his ordination and asks God for strength to remain faithful to them.

These prayers are prayed before putting on the various liturgical vestments to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and is a quiet and hidden action the laity rarely ever see. While the prayers aren’t used by the laity, they can help men and women in the pew understand the great symbolism and significance behind each vestment and why these ancient articles of clothing are used in preparation for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Vesting Prayers

NOTE: to be said in the sacristy or the Altar while putting on and taking off Vestments

At Washing the Hands

(Making the sign of the Cross over himself) Cleanse my hands, O Lord, from all stain, that, pure in mind and body, I may be worthy to serve Thee.

While putting on the Amice

(Make the sign of the cross over the Amice) Place, O Lord, the helmet of Salvation upon my head to repel the assaults of the Devil.

While putting on the Alb

(Make the sign of the cross over the Alb) Cleanse me, O Lord, and purify my heart, that, being made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may attain everlasting joy.

While putting on the Cincture

(Make the sign of the cross over the Cincture) Gird me, O Lord, with the belt of purity and quench in me the fire of concupiscence, that the grace of temperance and chastity may abide in me.

While putting on the Maniple (if used)

(Make the sign of the cross over the Maniple) Grant me, O Lord, to bear the light burden of grief and sorrow, that I may with gladness take the reward of my labor.

While putting on the Stole

(Make the sign of the cross over the Stole) Give me again, O Lord, the stole of immortality, which I lost by the transgression of my first parents, and although I am unworthy to come unto Thy Holy Sacrament, grant that I may attain everlasting felicity.

While putting on the Chasuble (or Cope)

(Make the sign of the cross over the Chasuble) LORD, who hast said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”, grant that I may so bear it, as to attain Thy grace. Amen.

While putting on the Dalmatic, or Tunicle (typical of a deacon)

(The deacon presents the Dalmatic or Tunicle to the priest who make the sign of the cross over the Vestment) LORD, clothe me with the garment of Salvation, and cover me with the robe of righteousness.

Preparation for the Holy Eucharist

NOTE: Celebrant words in black, Deacon or Server(s) words in red/italics
Standing before he Holy Altar, the Deacon or Server on the right

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I will go unto the Altar of God:

Even unto the God of my joy and gladness.

Psalm 43. (Not said in Liturgies of the Dead, or from Passion Sunday to Holy Saturday)

Give sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the ungodly people: O deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.

For Thou art the God of my strength, why hast Thou put me from Thee: and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?

O send out Thy light and Thy truth, that they may lead me: and bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling.

And that I may go unto the Altar of God, even the God of my joy and gladness: and upon the harp will I give thanks unto Thee. O God, my God.

Why art thou so heavy, O my soul: and why art thou so disquieted within me?

O put thy trust in God: for I will yet give Him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.

+Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

[Begin here in Masses for the Dead, and from Passion Sunday to Holy Saturday.]

I will go unto the Altar of God:

Even unto the God of my joy and gladness.

+ Our help is in the name of the Lord:

Who hath made heaven and earth.

I confess to God Almighty, and to you, my brothers and sisters . . .

God Almighty have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to everlasting life.


I confess to God Almighty, to the Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to thee, holy father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought word and deed, by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault. Wherefore I beg the blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and thee, holy father, to pray for me to the Lord our God.[1]

God Almighty have mercy upon thee and cleanse thee from all thy sins and iniquities.


+ The Almighty and merciful Lord grant unto us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.


Wilt Thou not turn again and quicken us, O God?

That Thy people may rejoice in Thee.

O Lord, show Thy mercy upon us.

And grant us Thy salvation.

O Lord, hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

The Lord be with you.

And with thy spirit.

After the Holy Eucharist:

Prayers While Removing the Vestments

I give Thee thanks, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God, Who, for no merits of my own, but only out of the condescension of Thy mercy, hast vouchsafed to feed me, a sinner, Thy unworthy servant, with the precious Body and Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

And I pray that this Holy Communion may not bring guilt upon me to condemnation but may intercede for me to my pardon and salvation.

Let it be to me an armor of faith, and a shield of good purpose.

Let it be to me a riddance of all vices, an extermination of all evil desires and lusts, an increase of love and patience, of humility and obedience, and all virtues.

Let it be to me a firm defense against the wiles of my enemies, visible and invisible; a perfect quieting of all my impulses, fleshly and spiritual; a firm adherence to Thee, the One true God; and a blessed consummation of my end.

And I pray Thee, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring me, a sinner, to that unspeakable Feast, where Thou, with Thy Son and the Holy Spirit, art to Thy Saints true light, full satisfaction, everlasting joy, complete delight, and perfect happiness. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


[1]The role of Mary, the Virgin and Mother of our God, as most Christians define her, finds a vague position in the Anglican tradition. So, let’s look at this theologically. We venerate and call Mary blessed (Luke 1:42) and see in her an exalted state of godly regard as the chosen Mother of God (Luke 1:28). And like all the saints who have gone before us, Mary beholds the face of God and offer prayers—and certainly prayers for those of us still in this earthly journey. This is also true for Archangel Michael, the Captain of the heavenly host. The angels serve God and are present before Him, and they pour forth their prayers along with ours before the Throne of God (Matt. 18:10; Rev. 1:20; Tobit 12:15; Rev. 8:2 – 4; Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7). So, do you ask your earthly loved ones to pray for you? Of course. How much more pure the prayers of our loved ones who behold the face of God in heaven.

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