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The maniple is a liturgical vestment of the Western Rites. It is an embroidered band of cloth that when worn hangs from the left arm, and it follows the liturgical colours. It fell into disuse in the Roman Catholic Church, and doesn't seem to be used much in the Western Orthodox parishes either.

Historical origin

Originally the maniple was likely a piece of linen which clerics used to wipe their faces and hands and has been described by some modern commentators as being akin to a handkerchief. It appears to have been used in the Roman liturgy since at least the 6th century. The maniple can vary widely in size, shape, and degree of embroidery and ornamentation.

Common symbolic comments refer to the maniple's likeness to the rope by which Our Lord was led and the chains which bound his hands. It has also become known as an emblem of the tears of penance, the burden of sin, and the fatigue of the priestly office. This understanding is reflected in the vesting prayer said while putting on the maniple before Mass. Anglican commentators have described the maniple as a symbol of being a servant to the servants of God.

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