I have put some information together to help you understand the meaning and use of the office of the Bishop. This is information is mainly for The Mystical Order but not limited. Within the Spiritual Baptist faith one must understand why he is placed in the office, How he is elected to the office and his role and function within the church. On our website I have posted  lots of information for learning and general practice. Visit us at http://www.mysticalorderinc.org.

A bishop wears a number of symbolic items of dress which help us to understand something of his role in the Church:


Bishops may wear purple clerical shirts, or a purple sash / waistband over a white cassock. The colour purple has been used from ancient times to symbolise a ruler or leader of the people. The bishop’s ring is normally made of an amethyst, which is also purple. It symbolises faithfulness and truth and is worn on the fourth finger of the right hand.

A Pectoral Cross

The Bishop wears a pectoral cross (from the Latin pectoralis, of the chest), which is usually large and suspended from the neck by a cord or chain. Most pectoral crosses are made of precious metals (platinum, gold or silver) and some contain precious or semi-precious gems. You will also see bishops with simple wooden examples. This large, visible, cross shows how God is close to a bishop’s heart.

On formal occasions such as church services, a bishop may wear:

A Mitre

The head covering worn by Bishops is called a mitre, (from the Greek “mitra” ‘headband’). It is made with two triangular pieces of stiffened material which are sewn together at the sides with an opening at the base for the head. The shape represents the Holy Spirit which according to the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 verse 3 rested on the apostles in the shape of tongues of fire. The two strips of material (lappets) which hang from the back of the mitre are often seen as representing the bishop’s dual role in Church and State. In their present form they are actually a reminder of the original mitra / headband which after it had been tied around the head would have also have had lengths of cloth falling down the back. (It also symbolises the Old and New Testaments)

A Cope

The cope (from the Latin cappa ‘cape’) is a liturgical vestment, which is a very long cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. The often highly ornamented clasp is called a morse. A cope may be worn by any rank of clergy. If worn by a bishop it should be accompanied by a mitre (see above).

The bishop also carries:

A Crook or Crosier

The crosier is the symbol of the governing office of the Bishop. A bishop carries this staff to show that he is a “shepherd of the flock of God”, (the community under his care). All bishops use a crosier when in procession, and at certain key points in services such as blessing the people. The crosier is given to the Bishop during his ordination as a Bishop.

The distinctive shape of the crosier is also symbolic: the pointed tip symbolizes the obligation of the Bishop to goad the spiritually lazy; the hooked top symbolizes his obligation to draw back those who stray from the faith; and the staff itself symbolizes his obligation to act as a firm support for the faithful. Crosiers may be made of a variety of materials: some bishops favour a simple wooden staff like a shepherd’s crook while some bishops may have inherited extremely ornate crosiers created for their predecessors in the office. It doesn’t matter the look, shape or age, it is the purpose it serves.

A Bible

At his consecration the Bishop receives a Bible which gives him authority to preach the word of God to the world. Within The Mystical Order a bishop is granted a license to preach as part of his authority within the church.

You will also see some bishops wearing rochets and chimeres over their cassocks. The rochet is a long white tunic, nearly as long as the cassock, which is gathered at the wrists. The chimere is worn over the rochet and is a long gown, with slits for arms, which is usually coloured red (it could also be black). It is accompanied by a black scarf and sometimes by an academic hood.

+ Sir Godfrey Gregg

Archbishop and Presiding Prelate

Administrator and Apostolic Head


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Author: Godfrey Gregg