The surplice is a non-liturgical vestment used by in traditional Western worship. It continues in use by various Christian communions of the West (particularly the Roman Catholic Church), as well as in the Orthodox Church's Western Rite.
The surplice has the form of a tunic of white linen or cotton material, with wide or moderately wide sleeves, reaching—according to the Roman use—barely to the hips and elsewhere in the Church of Rome to the knee. It usually features lace decoration, but in modern times—in Germany at least—it may also have embroidered borders.
The surplice descended from the Greek alb, which it replaced in the North before Rome's schism from Orthodoxy. Eventually it was adopted elsewhere in the West. In recent years, the alb has been introduced in the West.