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Question 41.

Father your blessing!
I have noticed that the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, currently His Beatitude Theodoros, wears something unique when fully vested for the Divine Liturgy. It is a vestment that is almost identical to the epitrakhelion. It is worn over the sakkos, and (usually) has icons sown of various Apostles and Saints. Can this be seen as a second epitrakhelion being worn, or is it simply an Alexandrian tradition that the one (and only) epitrakhelion be worn over the sakkos?

With respect and gratitude,



Answer to Question 41.

Dear Evangelos,

The Patriarch of Alexandrian is vested with two epitrakhelia one beneath the sakkos as all bishops do and one over the sakkos. This is a prerogative that only the Patriarch of Alexandria has. I have asked if anyone knows why, but as yet have not received an answer. Two or three times a year, one of the African Metropolitans visits Cyprus and usually serves the Liturgy at our Church. When next in town I will make a point of asking him as Im sure he would know. In the meantime if you discover why then please let me know.

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher


Father Christopher, Your blessing!

I recently came across some information on the internet regarding the vestments of the patriarch of Alexandria. The patriarch wears two επιτραχήλια, one below and another above the σάκκος, by royal decree (as he advised an emperor well on some issue). The επιτραχήλιον above the sakkos is called the κριτάτο, in accordance with the patriarch's title of Κριτής της Οικουμένης.
It was Patriarch Theophilos II of Alexandria who received this honour. Briefly, being exiled to Constantinople, Theophilos intervened in a dispute between Emperor Vasileios and Patriarch Sergios II of Constantinople. The dispute regarded the application of solidarity in some affair.