copeAlso known as

  • cappa pluvialis
  • pluvial


  • Latin: cappa, cape; pluvia, rain


Long liturgical mantle, open in front, fastened at the breast with a clasp or morse; made of silk or cloth, and semi-circular in shape. The earliest mention of a cappa is found in Gregory of Tours, and in the Miracula of Saint Furseus, and meant an ordinary cloak with a hood, for common wear. It was not in general use in church ceremonies until the 12th century, when it was regarded as the special vestment of cantors. It could, however, be worn by any member of the clergy, and among monks was worn by the whole community, excepting the celebrant and his ministers, at High Mass on great feasts. The only conspicuous change it has undergone during the ages has been in the shape of the hood, which in the beginning was small and triangular and intended to be of practical utility in protecting the head in processions, etc., but is now merely an ornamental appendage resembling a shield of rich embroidery, artificially stiffened, and sometimes adorned with fringe. The cope is assigned to the celebrant in nearly all functions in which the chasuble is not used, e.g., processions, greater blessings and consecrations, solemn Vespers and Lauds, Benediction, absolution and burial of the dead, Asperges before Mass, etc., and is worn at pontifical High Mass by the assistant priest who attends the bishop. Its color foliows that of the day.

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Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “cope“. Emblems of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 August 2018. Web. 5 July 2020. <>