Epigonation

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Epigonation of Bp. Mark (Maymon) of Toledo, featuring his patron saint, the Apostle Mark.

The epigonation (from Greek, "upon the knee") is a stiff, diamond-shaped vestment worn on the right side by priests and bishops.

In the Byzantine tradition, the epigonation is awarded to a priest upon his elevation to exomologoumenos (confessor). In the Russian tradition, it is an award given after many years of service.

It represents a shield, originating from the thigh shield worn by soldiers during the days of the early church. The epigonation holds a dual meaning. First, it denotes the celebrant as a "soldier" of Christ. Second, it symbolizes the Word of God, fighting the wiles of the enemy. The epigonation is known as the palitsa in the Russian tradition.


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