Liturgical Curiosities: The Franciscan Tonacella Per Novizi at La Verna and the Orfroi of the Rite of Lyon

The Franciscan Shrine at La Verna, located in Tuscany, is the place where St. Francis of Assisi is said to have received the stigmata.  There are many matters of interest in La Verna, not the least of which a liturgical curiosity known as the "tonacella per novizi" (which means something akin to the tunic of novices). The tonacella is worn by Franciscan novices for processions and other liturgical occasions. Here is a good view of it in historical use.

Here are some better views of it in contemporary use:

So what is the tonacella? The tonacella is essentially the orphrey of the dalmatic/tunicle detached and worn separately from the tunic itself. If you wonder what I mean, here is an example taken from Watts & Co where I have shown the original dalmatic, then removed the green fabric leaving only the orphreys (you can ignore the tassels), and from there, for comparison, is the tonacella worn at La Verna.  

It is worth noting that this type of usage is not peculiar to La Verna, I would remind our readers that the rite of Lyon uses something similar called the "orfroi" (literally: orphrey):

This usage no doubt derives from the once more common practice of having tunicles worn by the lesser ministers (such as acolytes) -- a practice still observable in Spain and some other places. 

At some point (in Lyon it was in the 17th century), this usage was either abandoned alotgether or continued in the reduced form seen in places such as La Verna and Lyon.

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