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Russian Kamilavka.

Eastern Orthodox man in Jerusalem by David Shankbone

Greek Orthodox clergyman wearing clerical kamilavkion.

A Kamilavkion (καμιλαύκιον), or kalymmavkhion (καλυμμαύχιον), kalymmavchi (καλυμαύχι)), in Russian kamilavka (камилавка), is an item of clerical clothing worn by Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic monks (in which case it is black) or awarded to clergy as a mark of honor (in which case it may be red or purple). Like many features of Orthodox vestments, it developed from an item of Byzantine dress worn at the Imperial court, in this case a type of hat worn by some officials to denote their rank.

The kamilavkion is a stiff cylindrical head covering, similar to a stovepipe hat but without a brim. The kamilavkion is worn during services; at other times, the softer skufia is worn in its place. The specific shape and coloring will differ between the various ethnic traditions:

  • In the Greek tradition, monks wear a simple black kamilavkion, covered by a black veil (epanokamelavkion), but ordained clergy (both married and monastic) wear a kamilavkion with a flattened conical brim at the top. Hierodeacons (i.e., monastic deacons) remove the veil when they vest for services, but hieromonks (monastic priests) do not. In the Greek tradition, nuns do not normally wear a kamilavkion, but rather just the veil.
  • In the Russian tradition, clergy of all ranks wear a kamilavka that is normally taller than the Greek style, widens as it rises, and is flat at the top. Monks wear a black kamilavka with black veil. Russian nuns also wear the kamilavka with veil. Hieromonks and hierodeacons wear the same black kamilavka and veil as non-ordained monastics. Again, hierodeacons remove the veil when they are serving, but hieromonks do not. Protodeacons (honorary rank for married deacons) are awarded a purple or red kamilavka, but Archdeacons (a parallel rank for monastic deacons) continue to wear the black kamilavka. Archpriests (honorary rank for married priests) are also awarded a purple or red kamilavka. Bishops, who are always monks, wear a black kamilavka with a black veil. Archbishops are distinguished by a jeweled cross on the front of their veil. Metropolitans wear a white veil over their kamilavka, with the same cross as an archbishop. The Patriarch of Moscow instead of the kamilavka wears a white koukoulion, a conical head covering with a monastic veil.
  • In the Serbian Orthodox Church clergy of all ranks wear a black kamilavka which is flat at the top. Monastics wear a black veil over the kamilavka during services. Bishops wear a black kamilavka with a wide purple band at the bottom, and remove the veil when they are outside the church.


  • Philippi, Dieter (2009). Sammlung Philippi - Kopfbedeckungen in Glaube, Religion und Spiritualität,. St. Benno Verlag, Leipzig. ISBN 978-3-7462-2800-6. 

See also

External links


pt:Camelauco ro:Culion ru:Камилавка sr:Камилавка fi:Kamilavka uk:Камілавка

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