Vestments of the Ecumenical Patriarch

What may appear to be merely expensive, flashy accessories are reminders of the expectation that bishops carry on the leadership of Christ's Apostles. 

SAKKOS and OMOPHORION: All bishops today wear the sakkos. The garment was first worn by the emperor and then later by the Patriarch of Constantinople as well. The sakkos is another symbol of his leadership of the Church. Over it, a bishop wears an omophorion around his neck and shoulders, just as Christ the Good Shepherd carried the lost sheep.

STAFF: The bishop's staff is easily recognized as a shepherd's staff. Look up John 21:15–18. What must Peter do to act out his love for Jesus? Another meaning of the bishop's staff is his healing role—just like the medical community's use of the snake twining around the rod of Asclepius.


ENGOLPION: During services, bishops usually wear a pectoral (from the Latin for "chest") cross and a medallion that is called a Panagia or engolpion (from the Greek for "chest"). A bishop who leads a Church may also wear a second engolpion with an icon of Christ. Outside of church services, bishops usually wear just the engolpion.

CANDLES: The dikerion (double candle) symbolizes the two natures of Christ and the trike- rion (triple candle) symbolizes the Holy Trinity. They remind us of the bishop's role as our First Teacher of the Faith.

MITRE: The bishop's crown we see today was not used until after the fall of Constantinople (1453). The Ecumenical Patriarch was giventhe responsibility of leading the Orthodox Christian community within the Ottoman Emmpire. He wears the crown as a sign of his leadership of the community.