Church Vestments and Textile Furnishings


Why Linen?  Linen--A Tradition

Why linen? Why not use some of the new, easy-care, "miracle" fabrics for our fair linens, purificators, palls, corporals and albs? Is there a reason to use linen?

The reason is simple, our desire to use the finest, most beautiful materials available at God's altar. Beauty is not necessary. Beauty is not always even efficient. When we prepare God's altar, we are beyond the category of necessary and efficient. We do all for the utter joy of serving our Lord.

We are in error when we call the man-made fabrics miracle fabrics. The true miracle fabrics were made by God. They are wool, cotton, silk --and linen. In recent years some parishes have turned to the easy-care, synthetic fabrics for use on the altar. But they are finding that these fabrics stretch out of shape, are not absorbent, hold stains, and, oddly, hold wrinkles, too. The lower cost of these fabrics is proving to be money ill spent.

Linen is a joy to use and to behold. Linen launders superbly. Few things can compare with a beautifully laundered and ironed fair linen. Always rinse the holy linens before laundering. It is traditional to pour this first rinse water down the piscina or onto the ground. A moment's reflection on the fact that these wine stains are the preclous Blood of Jesus will speak to the reason.

Scripture says, "And Joseph took the Body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth" (Matt. 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; John 19:40). Our Lord's body was wrapped in linen before it was placed In the sepulcher, and all our holy linens remind us of this when we use them. Linen is the traditional fabric used at the altar. It is beautiful, and its history is deep In the Scriptures. Let us give God's altar the best, the finest. In whatever is used on it and in the loving service that we render our Precious Savior.

Adapted from an article by Marty Thompson

From the book Sewing Church Linens by Elizabeth Joseph Morgan

<Linen Albs