Two men wearing modern dalmatics, decorated with an orphrey. Two men wearing modern dalmatics, decorated with an orphrey.

A dalmatic is a garment used as a Christian Church liturgical vestment. It takes the form of a long, wide-sleeved garment, often open at the sides, having become almost identical with the tunicle. The colour of the dalmatic varies according to when it is worn within the Church calendar (see: Christian liturgical colours).

The origins of the dalmatic date back to the Roman Empire, when it was a long and wide, sleeved tunic. They were regarded as the standard wear for both men and women, especially of the elite classes. It is said that Pope Sylvester I (314-335) was the first to designate it as a liturgical vestment specifically associated with priests. A characteristic feature of the dalmatic are one or two vertical bands, at the front and at the back (orphreys).

The dalmatic is sometimes worn at Mass by a deacon and sub-deacon as an outer garment, and sometimes over the alb and under the chasuble by a priest.

See also the entry on the Dalmatic of Charlemagne.



  • BAILEY, Sarah (2013),  Clerical Vestments, Shire Library, Oxford, pp. 20-21.
  • BAUMGARTEN, Barbara Dee (2002). Vestments for All Seasons, New York: Morehouse Publishing, p. 19.
  • PUGIN, Augustus W. N. (1868). Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume, London: Bernard Quaritch, pp. 111-114.
  • http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04608a.htm (retrieved 2 April 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 8 March 2017).


Last modified on Sunday, 12 March 2017 10:33
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