Prelatial Dress of the Religious Orders: The Franciscans

We all know the basic schema. Bishops wear purple, Cardinals red and Popes white.  This, of course, remains true. What many today may not realize, however, is that traditionally prelates who belonged to religious orders didn't simply adopt the prelatial dress of their secular (i.e. diocesan) counterparts like they tend to do today. Instead, their particular dress was aligned to the habit of their religious order to some greater or lesser degree. This not only added a degree of richness and diversity to prelatial dress, it also allowed the religious prelate to maintain their identity both as a prelate and as a religious.  As part of a new series, Prelatial Dress of the Religious Orders, I thought it would be of interest to treat of some of these variations, beginning today with the Franciscans -- though not the Capuchins who we will treat in another article. 

The prelates of the Franciscan order could either continue to wear their religious habit, or they could utilize a form of prelatial dress which was the same form as that of secular prelates, but which utilized an ash grey colour composed of wool and silk. This colour was that which was traditionally associated with the Franciscan habit. This was utilized in everything from the cassock, mantelletta to the cappa magna. (Their zucchetto and biretta would, however, fall into the secular colour scheme as you will see below.)

Let's take a look, beginning with the Franciscan mozzetta and mantelletta.

Here are photographs of the Franciscan mantelletta:

Here, the Franciscan cappa magna:

Here too is their ferriaolo, a cape/cloak typically worn for formal but non-liturgical occasions. (This also provides a good view of their ash grey cassock and fascia).

Two final images, one in colour and the other not:

To make clear how this tied back to the habit of the Franciscans, here is a look. You will certainly see how the prelatial dress was both derived from this ash grey colour and a clear echo of it.

Photo source: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
I mentioned earlier that I was excluding the Capuchin Franciscans. This is because the Capuchins, unlike the rest of their Franciscan brothers, utilized brown in their habit and prelatial dress. We will look at that in another article of this series however.

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