From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Cope [1]

(from cop, a covering, or caput, the head, over which it was thrown, or capere, from taking in the whole body). We give additional particulars concerning this clerical garment from Walcott, Sac. Archaeol. s.v.

"There were several kinds of this cloak-like vestment:

" 1. The Processional Or Ceremonial Cope, called the Pluviale, worn out of doors, whence its name a protection from rain in processions. It appears to have been modelled by pope Stephen, in 256, on the Roman Lacerna, A large, square-hooded cloak, fastened with a brooch upon the breast, and worn by soldiers and civilians in the last age of the Republic, and it resembled the Greek Mandyas or Chlamys, a habit of smaller dimensions than the Pallium. The Lacerna was usually sad- colored, purple or red. The open part of the cope denoted that eternal life was offered to the minister of holy deportment; and the entire habit was an imitation of the purple robe of mockery, or Sakkos, which our Lord was compelled to wear. It was also often called the Byrrhus. The cope was originally a great cloak, worn in processions principally, which in time was gradually enriched with embroidery and gems, so that in the 13th century it had become one of the most magnificent vestments in use, and was known as 'precious.' It frequently had superb orphreys and a hood splendidly worked with figures of saints and other patterns. In pre-Norman times there were, in England, tassels and movable hoods of thin beaten gold and silver, such as William's stole at Ely. Some examples had fringes of bells, like one at Canterbury, which had a little chime of one hundred and forty, in 1108, and others sent by William I to Clugny, or presented by Lanfranc, Ernulph, and Conrad to their minster. One is still preserved at Aixla-Chapelle, having silver bells round the hem, said to have been given by pope Leo III at the coronation of Charlemagne. There are three copes of the 14th century at Durham, one of which is of crimson silk, with the beheadal of Goliath; two at Langharne; one of green velvet, of the 14th century, at Ely; two at Carlisle of the 15th and 16th centuries; one of crimson velvet, with crowns and stars of Bethlehem, at Chipping-Campden; some of the date of James II, at Westminster; several of the 14th century at Spires; one of the 15th century, found at Waterford Cathedral, at Oscott; some of the 17th century at Riseholrne, worn by the bishops of Lincoln at coronations; and others at Wardour Castle, Weston Underwood, and Stonyhurst: some traditionally being said to have been brought from Westminster. The silken copes were distributed in choir by the precentor to the various members, upon great festivals; at other times they were carefully folded and put away in triangular cope-chests. Every canon, at his installation, presented one of these precious or processional copes to the fabric; and every abbot or bishop gave a cope of profession, on his appointment, to Canterbury Cathedral. In England, at the Reformation, the precious copes were, unhappily, too often desecrated to garnish beds as coverlets. Bishop Cosin wore a cope of white satin. Portions of copes are still, in several English churches, used as altar or pulpit cloths.

" 2. The Canonical Or Choral Cope was a large, full, Flow ing cloak of black woollen stuff, worn by canons and vicars in cathedrals. It is mentioned at Chichester, in the 12th century, as without corsets and open. It opened downwards from the breast, and was sewed up as far as the throat, round which was a hood. In the 15th century, the almuce was sewn on to the cope like a hood, except when it was carried across the shoulders, or thrown over the left arm.

" 3. The Close Or Sleeveless Cope, an ample hood lined with fur, did not open in front, whence its name. The hood was of ermine, like that of the proctors at Oxford. It is seen depicted on the famous wall-painting of Chichester Cathedral-bishop Sherborne being habited in it. In the 13th century all clerks were required to wear close copes in synods, and in the presence of prelates and parochial clergy in their parish; they were to be laid aside on journeys. Black canons, Benedictines, and nuns were to use black, and not colored copes, and faced only with black or white fur of lambs, cats, or foxes. They were forbidden caps by H. Walter's canons in 1200. In 1195 priests were forbidden to wear sleeved copes. In 1222 monks and canons were proscribed burnet or irregular cloth, or girdles of silk, or gold embroidery in their habit, and the nuns were to use no veil of silk. At the close of the 12th century dignitaries were allowed the use of sleeved copes; but in 1222 it was found necessary to forbid the gay colors of red and green adopted for copes. The monk retained the sombre hue of black. At Cambridge doctors of divinity still wear, on formal occasions, a cope of scarlet cloth with ermine bands in front. By the Laudian statutes of Oxford on formal occasions, they are required to wear either the close or open cope; and bachelors of arts, when reading in the Bodleian library, were enjoined to be attired in 'their habit or cope, cowl, and cap.'

"The Cappa Magna, worn in processions and during certain functions in Italy at this day, corresponds to the English close cope. It is a large violet-colored habit, with a train and an ermine cape when worn by bishops, but only furred when canons use it."