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Clergy Colours Commonly Seen

07/08/2020 / By Pastor Moses Mwicigi

When it comes to the clothing worn by clergy, many opt for custom robes and accompanying attire, since clergy vestments are highly personal items. The clothing worn is a reflection of the tradition of faith and symbolizes a commitment to serving the congregation.


In addition to choosing customized vestments, clergy will also choose the colour of their shirt based on the sermon or service they are delivering. Below is a more detailed look at what each shirt colour means. Black A black shirt is the most recognizable colour of clerical attire. Catholic and Methodist clergy wear black as their primary attire. Traditional black comes in both types of clergy shirts and is worn for everyday attire, as well as in public. Black is considered the primary colour for shirts worn by members of the clergy. Red A red or maroon shirt is most typically assigned to members of the clergy who hold the position of Bishop. Catholic, Methodist and other denominations with bishop positions generally wear a red clergy shirt with a white collar. Cardinals often wear a maroon clergy shirt because they hold a higher position in the church than a Bishop. Purple Purple is also used to designate a specific position in the church, such as Bishop or senior Bishop. This colour can also imply that the clergy holds a specific position in the church. At times, one Bishop may wear a purple clergy shirt in the presence of a senior Bishop, so that there can be the distinction between the two. Purple is also used for services of repentance. White It is common for clergy to wear white shirts during formal ceremonies, such as weddings, funerals, baptisms, or religious holidays. The white shirt is generally worn under a cloak or robe during a ceremony, but not worn out in public. A clergy shirt of this colour is also worn with different colour priest collars that relate to either a season or a specific type of event.