Comparison Charts
Fast Facts
Practices and Rituals


Items and Things

New and Featured in Christianity Section

What is Easter?

What are the Seven Deadly Sins?

New and Featured On Religion Facts

Compare Sunni and Shia Muslims

Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism Comparison Chart

Religion Facts offers

downloadable charts

Christian books

New Release

The Great Reformer

by Austen Ivereigh

New Release

40 Questions about the Historical Jesus

by Marvin Pate

Best seller

Jesus on Trial

by David Limbaugh

New Release

New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating

by Andy Stanley

New Release

by Ruth Soukup

Article Info:
published: 3/17/04
updated: 8/14/14


What is a cassock?

In the Christian religion, the cassock (also known as a soutane) is not technically a liturgical vestment, but simply the daily clothing of the priest.

The close fitting, ankle-length robe worn by Roman Catholic clergy as their official garb originated in the classical dress of antiquity. When newer, shorter garments became the style, the clergy continued the older way of dressing.

Laymen participating the worship service also wear cassocks for the occasion.

Cassocks come in different styles. A Roman cassock has 33 buttons down the front; a French cassock has fewer front buttons, but buttons sewn to the sleeves after the manner of a suit, and a broader skirt.


A Jesuit cassock has a fly fastened with hooks. An Anglican cassock is double breasted and fastens at the shoulders on the opposing side of the breast.

Black is the usual color for the cassocks of priests, although white is favored in the tropics.

The color for bishops and other prelates is purple, for cardinals red, and white for the pope.

Cardinals, bishops and other prelates also have what is called a "house cassock," which is black with red or purple piping, buttons, buttonholes, and sash-loops; this is usually worn with a sash.

The complete ecclesiastical habit of a priest differs from the house cassock of a prelate only in the color of the piping, buttons and other trim, which must be black.

In most western countries, the cassock has been virtually replaced by the clerical suit of a more contemporary design and a plain linen alb is worn in the sanctuary.


Other Articles in This Series

Recommended for You

More on Christianity

More Religious Facts

World Religions - Main pages

Christian beliefs

Christian denominations

Christian history

Christian holidays

Christian biographies

Christian practices

Christian symbols


Bahai facts

Buddhism facts

Christianity facts

Hinduism facts

Islam facts

Jainism facts

Jehovah's Witnesses facts

Judaism facts

Mormonism facts

Sikhism facts






Jehovah's Witnesses




Victor Schultze, "Vestments." New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Baker Book House, 1950).

© 2004-2015 ReligionFacts. All rights reserved. | About Us | How to Cite | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Advertising Info
Site created with Dreamweaver. Web hosting by Blue Host. Menu powered by Milonic.
Religions: Religion Comparison Chart | Bahá'í | Buddhism | Chinese Religion | Christianity | Confucianism | Hinduism | Islam | Jehovah's Witnesses | Judaism | Mormonism | Rastafarianism | Scientology | Shinto | Taoism
Features: Big Religion Chart | Religions A-Z | Religious Symbols Gallery
ReligionFacts provides free, objective information on religion, world religions, comparative religion and religious topics.