Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Jibbi

The jibbi is a clothing garment often worn by Priests (of the Syriac Tradition) on top of their soutane. See below for examples of Patriarch Younan (of the Syrian Catholic Church) and Patriarch Iwas (of the Syrian Orthodox Church) wearing their jibbis on top of their Soutanas:

Patriarchs Orthodox and Catholic with Jibbi

Patriarchs Orthodox and Catholic with Jibbi
To demonstrate the difference between a prelate with a jibbi on and without a jibbi on I have attached a picture of Patriarch Younan without a Jibbi and Patriarh Rai with a Jibbi on.

Patriarch Younan left (without Jibbi) and Patriarch Rai right (with Jibbi)


As you can see, the Syriac jibbi is not like the Byzantine outer-soutane where it closes all the way to the bottom. The Syriac jibbi only closes on the top.

Melkite Patriarch (far left) wearing a Byzantine outer-soutane, while the Maronite Patriarch (middle) and Syriac Catholic Patriarch (far  right) wearing Syriac Jibbis (that open up in the bottom).


There are also some bishops (like Bishop Flavien Joseph) who do not even button up the jibbi on the top but simply wear it open. Below is a picture of an old Maronite Bishop wearing the jibbi using this practice and of Bishop Flavien Joseph.

Old Maronite Bishop wearing his Jibbi open

Bishop Flavien Joseph wearing his jibbi open

The jibbi itself not only serves as a clothing garment for Priests and Bishops it serves as a liturgical vestment. That is, if the jibbi is worn (closed on top), the priest may wear a stole (on top of it) and administer certain sacraments. Below is an example of a Patriarch Younan wearing a jibbi with a stole.

Patriarch Younan with a jibbi and a stole
There are however a few problems that have been arising with the use of the jibbi. As I have stated previously, the jibbi must be worn on top of a soutane. There are many Priests (atleast in the diaspora) who seem to think that it is OK to wear a jibbi on top of suits. I do not think this is because of malice or laziness (although it might be), but because of a lack of education and knowledge. See below for an example of how a jibbi looks like when worn on top of a suit pants and shirt.

On the left, a priest with a jibbi on top of suit pants and shirt. On the right Bishop Antione-Charbel Tarabay wearing a jibbi properly.


Through the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem. God Bless you all.


4 comments:

  1. "The jibbi itself not only serves as a clothing garment for Priests and Bishops it serves as a liturgical vestment."

    As with the Byzantine exoriasa, the ghoultho is primarily considered street or choir dress. It is not truly liturgical. This becomes very clear with the first prayer of vesting (which was common to all the West Syriac Churches but which the Maronites have in the post-concilar era dispensed with entirely):

    "Remove from me, O Lord God, the filthy garments with which Satan has clothed me through the weakness of my evil deeds, and clothe me with the choice garments that befit the service of Your honor and for the glory of Your Holy Name, our Lord and our God, forever."

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  2. "There are however a few problems that have been arising with the use of the jibbi. As I have stated previously, the jibbi must be worn on top of a soutane. There are many Priests (atleast in the diaspora) who seem to think that it is OK to wear a jibbi on top of suits. I do not think this is because of malice or laziness (although it might be), but because of a lack of education and knowledge. "

    No, it's not malice, but laziness is certainly a part of it, along with lack of education (to put it as nicely as I can). The ghoultho is an outer garment, and thus should be worn over the soutane (or, in the case of monks, the habit). I remember one Maronite priest who donned it over shorts and a teeshirt.

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  3. The Syriac Orthodox Bishop is wearing the Byzantine panagia and engolpion. Not very Syriac.

    Naughty, naughty.

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    1. Actually that's the Patriarch, but indeed, the panagia is not very Syriac but it is very typical. It's one of the odd byzantinizations adopted by the SOC over the years. As "naughty" as it is, I still think it beats the neo-latinized custom among those in union with Rome of using a JPII-style pectoral which ain't very Syriac either. I'd prefer to see old-style pectoral crosses that actually look like pectoral crosses, rather than the industrial-style flat one-size-fits-all things that all too closely resemble that vile bent-armed ferula that has recently reared its ugly head again.

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