2021 Bishop's Copes - Set
2021 Bishop's Copes - Set for only GBP £5.42
The vestments worn by priests and bishops follow the liturgical colours of the ecclesiastical year and are also associated with church holidays and public holidays.
In this third and most recent issue on Faroese church textiles, we have now come to the bishop’s cope (a ceremonial cloak worn for liturgical functions other than the Mass). The two previous issues have depicted chasubles in red, green, violet and white.
The bishop wears the cope on special occasions, for example when ordaining priests, on church anniversaries, St. Olaf’s Day, July 29, and when participating in ecclesiastical events abroad. The bishop of the Faroe Islands has three copes in different colours to choose from: one white, one green and one golden. The white cope was introduced in 1963, the green one in 1989 and the golden one was introduced as recently as 2013. Posta has decided to feature the white and the golden bishop’s copes on these two stamps.
The white bishop’s copeThe Danish Paramenthandel - an organization devoted to ensuring high-quality standards for textile art in churches - fashioned the white bishop’s cope in linen in 1963 in accordance with the design of sculptor, Edvard Jensen. The linen was hand-woven in white silk and gold threads in Italy. The bishop’s cope is embellished with a cross on the back, portraying the Lutheran rose is in the centre of the cross. In front there are trimmings reaching across. Sequins and a plant, the Rose of Jericho, are embroidered on the front of the trimmings. The Rose of Jericho is a dry and brown desert plant that can survive for several years without water. But as soon as it gets a little moisture, it blooms in beautiful green colours.
The golden bishop’s copeThis is the most recent bishop’s cope, commissioned for St. Olaf’s Day in 2013.
The cope has a golden colour, symbolizing the eternal light, the glory and power of God. The set of symbols consist of the cross, the ring, the Faroe Islands and the marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris) which is the Faroese national flower. The design was made by Jógvan Sámal Heldarskarð and the dot lace trim pattern was made by Gisley Dahl Bonde. The embroidery was made by Paulina M. K. Eliasen while Ruth Laksáfoss took care of sewing. The buckle was designed by Marni Laksáfoss. The linen was purchased in England.
Textiles and coloursWhen thinking of church textiles we recognize that the priest’s cassock is best known for its black colour. The cassock, however, has a certain dignity about it and in our tradition the cassock symbolizes the gravitas of life – both in its good and the difficult moments. But the church is full of character with its liturgical colours. It’s not just black and white. There are other life-affirming colours, which, depending on the ecclesiastical year and the actual activities in the church, tell their special stories and reveal the atmosphere, for example joy or sorrow, hope of growth or remorse when something has gone awry. The colour attests to the mood, interprets the text and gets us contemplating. The words are not only encouraging and uplifting – we also have the colours, sounds, the sense of togetherness and the spirit. Together all of this makes for an integrated whole which we know as worship. Chasubles, chairs, altar cloths, tapestries and other similar handicrafts also acquaint us with the active hands which, diligent, meticulous, skilled and loving, lend a dignified appearance to the ecclesiastical proceedings. These textiles bedeck and embellish the Faroese folk church, draping the church in its finest splendour.
With these six stamps together, we now conclude our series on church textiles in the Faroese folk church.
Source: The book “Church Textiles”, 2021, by Paulina M.K. Eliasen