Slovak Lutheran preaching bands fabulousness

I wrote before that I was concentrating on lay-related matters for the next little while, with one noticable exception. This is it. I’ve made Geneva bands my schtick because it plays in so well with a gay male Protestant minister pun, and there aren’t a lot of those. You gotta use what you got.

When the Unitarian bishop of Transylvania and his assistant led communion at the 2003 UUCF Revival, I offered them the contents of my office closet (including what two past ministers left behind) for vesture: gowns, Geneva bands, and stoles. They only took the black gowns. As the Bishop put it, “we do not wear the Moses’ tablets.”

It seems bands are how you can tell a Transylvanian Unitarian from a Lutheran. A couple of weeks ago, for kicks, I decided to see what the Mittle Europa “Loo-trins” wear, ministerially. And I found them in Slovakia.

An English-language international church in Brataslava has a helpful page called “Things to know about Slovak Lutheran Liturgy” which includes details about the vesture:

  • black gown as used by the German Lutheran Church (academic robe from the 16th century worn by university professors) — called “luterák” (Luther Rock/Luther Skirt)
  • collar — two white-cloth rectangular strips symbolizing the two tables of the Decalogue — called “tablicky” (pronounced as “tublichky”)
  • white vestment worn over the gown on many occasions (by pastors only, not by chaplains) — called “kamza” (pronounced “kumzhah”)
  • stoles are not used, all robes are black-and-white

OK, there’s the reference to the tablets of the Ten Commandments again. Hmm. The gown is more like the cape like gown of the Transylvanian Unitarians, too. Has a nifty collar, too. I now want one. The kazma sounded nifty (and perhaps an alternative to cassock and surplice?) until I saw one. Looks more like a frilly duster of the kind that even my dear departed maternal grandmother wouldn’t wear.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Some event in 2005; you have to scroll a ways down.

Synod pictures from 2003, I think.

And then there are the pictures at the bottom of this page. Note that one minister is not dressed like the others. Purple shirt? Form fitting alb? No cape-gown, bands or duster. Obviously not from around there. She’s the Rev. Wilma S. Kucharek, the bishop of the US Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Slovak Zion Synod, and I presume an honored guest. Kind of a shame that the ethnic vesture didn’t persist in the ELCA’s one ethnic synod.

Oh, and some Hungarian Lutheran ministers getting in on the fun. (See upper left hand corner.)

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