Glossary

Terms beginning with V

Verger (Virger, Virge)

1)     Strictly speaking a verger is the one who carries a mace or ‘verge’ before a dignitary of the church. They often head a procession. Today they have wider responsibilities of ordering the interior of a church.

Vestments

1)     Vestments are the distinctive dress used by the clergy when performing the liturgy or services of the church. They originated in secular dress of antiquity. When long tunics and mantles were abandoned in the 5th century the clergy retained them for this sacred purpose. Some of the more elaborate vestments were abandoned at the reformation but cathedrals have always retained the use of copes and surplices have always been worn in parish churches. During the last hundred and fifty years traditional Eucharistic vestments have been reintroduced into the Church of England and are now common. The use of vestments adds colour and a degree of uniformity to the conduct of worship. They can also add a bit of theatre to the proceedings.

Vicar(s)

1)     A Vicar is the term used for an incumbent or parish priest who is responsible for a benefice within the church. He or she is in charge of a parish or a group of parishes and is legally responsible for the conduct of the worship and exercising pastoral care in the benefice. The term goes back to medieval times when churches were connected to monasteries, which received the revenues from that church. The monastery would often pay a secular priest or ‘vicar’ to look after the parish. Vicars and rectors have the same status, the only difference being that there are more jokes about vicars than rectors!

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Amendments

If you have any amendments to make or suggestions for other terms or words that you think it would be useful for us to explain, please get in touch with the Glossarist.

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All definitions © copyright EasternCathedrals 2004-2017+.
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Credits

The original core of this glossary was commissioned from Canon Phillip McFadyen of St George's Colegate, in Norwich.