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Question 51.

Father your blessing!

Is there a limit on the number of εγκόλπια hierarchs are permitted to wear? I at first thought the Primates of the Orthodox Churches are permitted three, Metropolitans two, Bishops one...but have seen otherwise.

With respect,



Answer to Question 51.

Dear Evangelos,


The archieratical enkolpio is not considered a vestment, but an emblem by which the rank of Bishop is recognized in the Orthodox Church. It was sanctioned as part of the Bishop’s attire by royal command in 1856.
As far as the priesthood is concerned all bishops are equal and belong to the same rank, but there is a rank of honour according to the See they occupy. Thus in the Greek Church there is the Patriarch or Archbishop followed by the Metropolitans and Auxiliary bishops or Chorebiscopi. During the Liturgy and other services all Bishops wear the Cross and enkolpio. A Patriarch or Archbishop wears a second enkolpio as a recognisable emblem of his rank. At other official gatherings or functions the Archbishop might wear only the Cross and enkolpio in which case the other Bishops present will wear only the enkolpio.

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher