Do Presbyterian Ministers Wear Robes?

The Presbyterian Church is among the first religions that arise from reformation, and the church has included itself in the tradition and intimate belief. It is a church that gathers to praise, pray, and fellowship together.

And there are ministers and elders that lead the people right in the word of God. But do these ministers put on tunics like ministers and elders in other churches? You’d find out in this blog post.

So, “Do Presbyterian Ministers Wear Robes?” Yes, presbyterian ministers wear robes. The cloaks are often worn by the ministers who’ve received a unique title and honor from the Bishop of the presbyterian Church. 

Many of the ministers confirmed that the robes that they wear give them the dignity and honor that is required during service.

Some of these pastors do not just wear the robe, most of them put on preaching bands and liturgical stole for a complete dressing. 

Having known that the ministers of the presbyterian Church put on robes, let’s find out the actual reasons for the use of robes. 

Why do presbyterian ministers wear robes?

Seeing that all ministers in the presbyterian Church put on cloaks during most of their services, you should be able to know the reasons for the type of dressing that is being chosen. So, I will list and elaborate on them below. 

Below are the theories as to why presbyterian ministers put on robes:

  • Due to its historical tradition.
  • It is a scriptural tradition.
  • Builds a culture.
  • Expresses sovereignty.
  • Emphasizes the status and the person. 
  • Increases the focus on the scripture.

Due to its historical tradition

The wearing of robes by the leaders of the Church has been a long-time practice, so since the presbyterian Church is reformed, the ministers decided to pick up the ancient tradition of putting on tunics. 

If you have noticed, the type of robes that are being worn by these ministers is different. This is to tell you that they didn’t just pick up the tradition from the Roman Catholic Church, but also from the reformation. 

In addition, since the robes were worn by many of the past Christian heroes, the newly arising ministers are not willing to leave the historical tradition of putting on tunics without a specific reason given to them to do so. 

It is a scriptural tradition

Another theory is that it is a scriptural tradition. The scripture is not muted on the issue of putting on cloaks. The tradition of wearing robes by the presbyterian ministers goes all the way back to the ancient times in the bible which emphasized on the perfect attire for priesthoods. 

This practice was introduced when God instructed Moses to speak with his brother and brother’s sons about worshipping him as his priest. And then, God added the garments that they are to wear while worshipping him. 

So, in other words, you can say robes are amongst the holiest apparel that can be employed to worship God.

Builds a culture

Many people are not bothered about the use of robes during graduation because it has become some sort of culture – robes are very much important during this celebration. Why? Because it gives the graduates some different kinds of honor and joy. 

Now, a quick question. If a robe can be worn during a graduation ceremony without people asking a series of questions, why can’t the ministers, bishops, or pastors preaching the word wear them? 

The presence of God can be viewed with a lot of respect, importance, and significance, as adoring God is a very significant occurrence. Even the bible says that God should be worshipped with the holiest apparel. 

Furthermore, the ministers at the presbyterian Church carry the mindset that worshipping God deserves all the respect with intense pageantry -and in this case, the robe seems like the best to develop this conviction. 

Expresses sovereignty

The office of a judge is often viewed with utmost authority, such that if a judge doesn’t put on a gown, everyone would be perturbed.

Regardless of the fact that a robe isn’t mandatory for a judge, they still wear them due to how it expresses the authority that they have in the law. 

The robe also expresses the sovereignty of the presbyterian minister with the scripture. The minister in quote is more like a representative of Christ to the people, and the most significant attire to be worn is a robe. 

Emphasizes the status and the person

You can only identify a soldier or police officer with his or her uniform. And I tell you, there is how you’d react when you see them in this clothing. 

Moving forward, you can’t be aware of them in the midst of the crowds if they are putting on regular clothes. Therefore, the police or soldier outfit is more authoritative than the person. 

Likewise the minister of the presbyterian Church. The robe they wear is authoritative, thereby emphasizing their status in the ministry. 

Increases the focus on the scripture

Finally, the presbyterian ministers put on robes because it increases the focus on the scripture. Now, you might be asking how, so I’d explain.

The congregation could get focused on the dressing of the ministers – both the female and male. When they are focused on that, their focus on the sermon/scripture will reduce. 

A senior pastor once said, “people are more concerned about the shape, shoes, and accessories of the pastor than the word”. This applies to the ministers too. Putting on regular clothes could shift their attention from reviewing the word constantly to worrying about the outfit for Sunday services. 

However, when they put on robes, all attention would be on the word. This is because the tunics would be repeated, so there is nothing much to anticipate. 

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What do the presbyterian ministers wear?

The presbyterian ministers put on vestments – mostly stole and Geneva gowns. Knowing what they wear isn’t enough, but understanding why they put them on is gain. Thus, I would explain below why the presbyterian ministers choose to put on stole and Geneva gown. The reasons are as follows:


The stole is a historical practice that is employed to signify the church leadership, including the burden of christ that is taken during the ordination service. 

There are different stoles, and each has different stories to tell. For instance, the stole with fringes is to follow the commandment of tassels on garments in numbers 15 verses 38, and 39. 

Geneva gown

Also, the Geneva gown is more like a robe and it is anciently employed as a sign of ordination in the church. It became popularly used during the reformation, mostly to mimic the law and academic apparel. In addition, the Geneva gown can also be called a pulpit robe, any one of the names that you can remember is fine.


Do Presbyterian wear skirts?

Of course, the presbyterian females put on skirts. In fact, the Presbyterian Church carries the conviction that wearing skirts shows godliness and modesty in females. Putting on skirts shows femininity and makes the difference between a male and a female clear. 

Honestly, you’d hardly see a presbyterian female putting on trousers because it is out of their belief. Rather you’d see them putting on skirts and dresses – mostly passes the knee length. 

Do Presbyterian ministers wear collars?

Oh, yea! The Presbyterian ministers wear collars. Typically, the presbyterian inspired the wearing of the collar before it was adopted by other roman churches like the Catholic, Anglican, and Baptist. The collar and the Geneva gown are mostly worn together.

However, you have to be ordained before putting on the collar. You can’t just wear the clerical collar as you wish. Also, it is not mandatory for a minister to wear a collar. You can choose to wear it if you like, and you can choose not to wear it. 

What do ministers wear around their necks?

Ministers put on the clerical collar around their neck. However, not all Church ministers. The ministers that wear the clerical collar are mainly Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, and presbyterian Church ministers. While the pentecostal churches put on ties around the collar area of their shirt. 

The clerical collar is removable and can be added to the clergy shirt. And it is used to add significance to the cleric apparel. The collar is tailored with a few metal studs, added at the front and back such that it is holding on to the shirt – making it look seamless. 

Conclusion – Do Presbyterian Ministers Wear Robes?

Presbyterian ministers put on tunics because it gives them the honor and dignity needed. Other reasons why they wear robes are because of its historical tradition, scriptural tradition, culture building, the sovereignty it expresses, the emphasis on the person and status, and increase of focus on the word. 

All of these theories have been explained in this blog post for more understanding. Likewise, other frequently debated topics were answered.

I hope you get the answer you need from this article. Do not hesitate to put down more questions in the comment section below. 

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