Skip to main content

Cope and Humeral Veil

COPE AND HUMERAL VEIL

The cope is a liturgical cloak of semicircular form reaching to the feet; it is fastened at the breast but open below. Originally a hood was attached to the back, but in the 14th century a shield or decorated flap began to replace it.

Some historians (see Leclercq) hold that the cope was adopted for use in processions from the ancient civil raincoat, a more ample lacerna or paenula. However, most scholars are of the opinion that the cope came into liturgical use around the 9th century as an adaptation of the monastic choir cloak of the 8th century. It appears that the cope was originally bell-shaped and closed like the chasuble but with openings cut in the front to allow the hands and arms to pass through. Soon the front of the cope was open all the way down and simply fastened at the top. By the end of the 11th century it was the vestment used for all liturgical functions except the Mass, and was worn not only by the officiant but by all the clergy on festive occasions.

There is no strict prescription that the cope be made of silk, but a rich material is in keeping with the solemn use to which the cope is put. Recent times have witnessed a return to attaching a hood to the back rather than a shield, for the former is more dignified. The cope follows the color of the feast.

The humeral veil (shoulder veil) is a long scarf eight to nine feet in length and two to three feet in width, worn over the neck, shoulders, and arms. It was known originally as a sindon and was used already in the 7th century to cover the hands out of reverence when holding sacred objects during liturgical ceremonies. It is still used for this purpose; e.g., the priest holds the monstrance with it when he blesses the people at Benediction. Its color varies with the feast, but white is always used at Benediction.

Bibliography: h. leclercq and e. mombert, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 190753) 3.1:365381. j. wagner, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:567568. j. braun, Die liturgische Gewandung im Occident und Orient (Freiburg 1907). e. bishop, Liturgica historica (Oxford 1918; reprint 1962) 260275. m. righetti, Manuale di storia liturgica, 4 v. (Milan): v.1 (2d ed. 1950) 1:366.

[m. mccance]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cope and Humeral Veil." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cope and Humeral Veil." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cope-and-humeral-veil

"Cope and Humeral Veil." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cope-and-humeral-veil

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.