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The kamilavka (Russian: камилавка), in Greek: Kamilavkion (καμιλαύκιον), kalymmavkhion (καλυμμαύχιον), or kalymmavchi (καλυμαύχι)), is an item of head wear among the clerical clothing worn by Orthodox Christian monastics and clergy. As with most items of Orthodox vestments this head wear developed from the clothing worn at the imperial court of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) empire. The kamilavka is worn during church services.

The kamilavka is a hat in the form of a rigid cylindrical head covering. In appearance it is similar to a stovepipe hat without a brim. The appearance and use of the kamilavka/kamilavkion varies among the different traditions in the Orthodox Church.

Greek tradition

Ordained clergy, both monastic and married, wear a kamilavkion that has a flattened conical brim on top of the cylinder. Monks wear a simple black kamilavkion that is covered with a black veil, called an epanokamelavkion. Hierodeacons, that is, deacons who are monks, remove the veil when they vest for services. Hieromonks, priests who are monks, do not. Nuns in the Greek tradition normally do not wear a kamilavkion, only a veil.

Russian/Ukrainian tradition

All ranks of the clergy wear the kamilavka. These are normally taller than the Greek style, become wider as they rise, and are flat on the top. The kamilavka with the epanokamelavkion (veil) permanently attached, called a klobuk, is worn by monastics, both men and women. As bishops must be monastics, they also wear the klobuk. All monastics, both those who are ordained and those who are not, wear black kamilavkas with a black veils. As with the Greek tradition, hierodeacons remove the veil when they take part in church services, and hieromonks do not. However, a non-monastic deacon does not wear a kamilavka; a protodeacon, however, may be awarded the purple or red kamilavka.

While bishops, as monks, wear the klobuk, that is a plain black kamilavka with a black veil, the klobuk of higher ranked bishops differ. The veil for archbishops has a jeweled cross on the from of the veil. Metropolitans wear a white veil over their kamilavka, with the same cross as do the archbishops.The head dress for the Patriarch of Moscow differ more significantly. He wears a head covering called a koukoulion, a white conical head covering, instead of the kamilavka, with the monastic veil.

For non-monastic clergy, the kamilavka, of different colors, can be received as awards. Non-monastic deacons awarded the honorary rank of protodeacon wear a colored kamilavka, usually purple or red, as do archpriests. Archdeacons, however, continue to wear the black kamilavka.

Serbian tradition

Clergy of all ranks wear black kamilavkas that are flat on top. During services, monastics wear black veil over the kamilavka. Bishops wear a black kamilavka with a wide purple band at the bottom. The veil, that they wear during services, is removed when they are outside the church.


See also

External link