|Textiles Special Collection, TX.65b and TX.77|
A maniple is a piece of liturgical vesture worn over the left forearm of the priest or deacon during Mass. It has two strings to tie together for a secure fit. Its origin is the large handkerchief laid across the arm of Roman magistrates signifying authority and service (similar to the cloth that a maître d’ hangs over his forearm). Following Vatican II, the maniple was considered to be unnecessary and is no longer used in common Mass. It is still used where Latin Masses (Extraordinary Form) are celebrated. (Latin Mass is available at four parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto)
The red maniple is made of velvet lined with silk and likely dates to the early 20th century. The shiny fabric and slim line of the purple maniple suggests a 1960s aesthetic. The cross decoration is framed in a mandorla, so called for its almond shape. Maniples would have been part of a matching vestment set with a stole and chasuble or dalmatic. The colours are indicative of the liturgical calendar. Red (symbolizing fire, blood, sacrifice, charity, zeal and the Holy Spirit) is worn at Pentecost, Palm Sunday, and Feast Days of the Martyrs. Purple (symbolizing repentance, sorrow, penitence, preparation) is used during Advent and Lent.