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Liturgical Colors

Anyone who has at least once attended an Orthodox service, had to notice the beauty and festivity of the vestments. The diversity of colors is an inalienable part of the liturgical-church symbolism, a way of affecting those praying. The color scale of the vestments includes all the colors of the rainbow: red, yellow, orange, green, sky blue, blue, purple; together — they produce white, and in opposition to this — black. Each color is adopted to a particular group of feast or fast days.

White, including in itself all the colors of the rainbow — is the symbol of God’s uncreated light. White vestments are worn on the great feasts of Easter, Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension and Transfiguration.

Red (or more appropriately, dark red) is worn on the Sundays of Great Lent, during Christmas Fast, on the feast day of the Elevation of the Lord’s Cross, and sometimes on the feast days of great martyrs.

Yellow (actually gold) is the color of glory, greatness and virtue. It is assigned to Sundays, as the days of the Lord — the King of Glory; in addition, the Church in golden vestments notes the days of His special anointed ones — the prophets, apostles and hierarchal saints.

Green is the color of plants and a symbol of new life — it is used on Palm Sunday and throughout the feast of the Holy Trinity (until its end).

Sky blue or blue — is the color of the feast days of the Most Holy Mother of God. It is the color of the sky, and it conforms to the teaching about the Mother of God, who held the Resident of the Heavens in Her Most Pure Body.

Black is nearest in spirit to the weekdays of Great Lent. It is the symbol of renunciation from worldly strife, it is the color of repentance and strictness to oneself.

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