AskDefine | Define dalmatic

User Contributed Dictionary



From , derived ultimately from the name of the province of Dalmatia.


  1. A long wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches and is worn by a deacon at the Eucharist or Mass and, although infrequently, by bishops as an undergarment above the alb.

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Extensive Definition

The dalmatic is a long wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and United Methodist Churches, sometimes worn by a deacon at the service of worship or mass and, although infrequently, by bishops as an undergarment above the alb. Like the chasuble, it is an outer vestment and is supposed to match the liturgical colors of the day. At a Pontifical High Mass, it is worn by the bishop under the chasuble.
Historically, the dalmatic was a garment of Byzantine dress, and was adopted by Emperor Paul I of the Russian Empire as a coronation and liturgical vestment. In Russian Orthodox icons of Jesus Christ as King and Great High Priest he is shown in a dalmatic.
It was a normal item of clothing at the time when ecclesiastical clothes began to develop separately around the fourth century, worn over a longer tunic by the upper classes, and as the longest part of the dress of men of lower rank. In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, there are two vestments very similar to the dalmatic. The first is the sticharion worn as the outer vestment by subdeacons and deacons and servers and as an undergarment by priests and bishops, strictly speaking, corresponding to a Western Alb. The second is the sakkos, which is more elaborately decorated and more amply cut, worn as an outer vestment by the bishops, derived from Byzantine imperial dress, and hence identical in origin to the Western Dalmatic. In the Roman Catholic Church the subdeacons wore a vestment called the tunicle which was originally distinct from a dalmatic but by the 17th century the two became identical, though a tunicle was often less ornamented than a dalmatic, the main difference being only one horizontal stripe versus the two becoming a deacon's vestment. Today, the tunicle is rare in the Roman Catholic Church as only certain authorized clerical societies (such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter) have subdeacons.


dalmatic in German: Dalmatik
dalmatic in Spanish: Dalmática
dalmatic in French: Dalmatique
dalmatic in Korean: 달마티카
dalmatic in Indonesian: Dalmatik
dalmatic in Italian: Dalmatica
dalmatic in Dutch: Dalmatiek (liturgie)
dalmatic in Polish: Dalmatyka
dalmatic in Russian: Далматика (облачение)
dalmatic in Finnish: Dalmatika
dalmatic in Swedish: Dalmatika
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