Dating coptic crosses

A small cross is generally sewed or embroidered on the stole at both ends and in the middle; the cross, however, is prescribed only for the middle, where the priest kisses the stole before putting it on.

There are no express precepts concerning the material of the stole, but silk, or at least a halfsilk fabric, is most appropriate.

Among the Syrians and Chaldeans the subdeacon also uses the stole, but he first twists it like a scarf around the neck, the ends being then let hang from the left shoulder in front and behind.

We possess few references to the stole anterior to the ninth century.

In the ninth and tenth centuries in the Frankish Empire the priests were commanded to wear the stole constantly as a badge of their calling, especially when on a journey.

In Spain and Gaul in the pre-Carlovingian period, the deacons wore the stole over the tunic like the Greeks; in Southern Italy this practice was continued until at least the thirteenth century; at Milan the stole is still worn over the dalmatic.

At the ordination of deacons the bishop places it on the left shoulder of the candidate, saying: "Receive from the hand of God the white garment and fulfil thy duty, for God is mighty enough to give thee His grace in rich measure." At the ordination of priests the bishop draws the part of the stole that rests at the back of the candidate's neck forward over the breast and lays the two ends crosswise, saying: "Receive the yoke of the Lord, for His yoke is sweet and His burden is light." The Sacred Congregation of Rites has given a large number of decisions concerning the use of the stole.

As a general rule it may be stated: the stole is only used, and must be used, at a function peculiar to the deacon, priest, and bishop, a function that presupposes the order (e.g., at the celebration of Mass, when the Blessed Sacrament is touched, when the sacraments are administered), but not for example, in processions or at Vespers.

It has either a uniform width throughout, or is somewhat narrower towards the middle, widening at the ends in the shape of a trapezium or spade.Stoles for festivals are generally ornamented with embroidery, especially what are called vesper stoles".The stole is worn only by deacons, priests, and bishops.But in the ninth century, subdeacons and acolytes still wore both the planeta and the stole, although, to distinguish them from the deacons, priests, and bishops, there were definite limitations to their use of the latter vestment.After the ninth century the stole is very frequently mentioned, and even then the manner of its use was essentially the same as today.

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