Liturgical Handbook of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
When is the ryassa to be worn?
Category: Clergy Vesting and Entrance Prayers

For those appointed to wear it (which includes all Deacons and Priests), the ryassa — the wide-sleeved outer garment worn over the cassock — is always worn in the church unless it is superceded by the Priest or Deacon donning full liturgical vestments. Except in cases of exceptional necessity, a cleric never enters the temple at all during any liturgical or pastoral context without wearing his ryassa (i.e. wearing only his cassock); and most certainly, he never dons ‘lesser vestments’ (i.e. stole, cuffs and phelon for lesser services) merely over a cassock, under any circumstances, but always over a ryassa.

The exception is when a Priest or a Deacon enters the temple outside of a liturgical or pastoral context, in order, for example, to clean the Altar or perform other such works for which wearing a ryassa would not be appropriate.

The ryassa is also worn by the Priest and Deacon in all formal circumstances of priestly life. It should be worn, for example, when teaching a parish class, when chairing a parish council meeting, at formal meals in a Parish Hall or similar venue, when speaking at a public engagement or representing the Church in a cultural or social setting, etc.; and all clergy always wear the ryassa in the presence of a Bishop, unless he invites them to do otherwise.

This is an entry from our Liturgical Handbook of the practices of the Church Abroad. Please see the full handbook for more than 100 entries on other topics.

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