Manipulo . It is a strip of fabric that is worn on the left forearm, dropping both ends on both sides; It is the insignia of the subdeacon that is given to him at ordination. It belongs to the major liturgical insignia.



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  • 1 Use
  • 2 Origin
  • 3 History
  • 4 Prayer
  • 5 Source


As the handcuff is the symbol of pain, it is used at Holy Mass, which is the renewal of Calvary’s sacrifice. It is not used outside the Mass, because no pain is comparable to that of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The mystical significance of the manipulo is clear from the words of the liturgy: the priest prays: “May you be worthy, Lord, to wear the manipulo of tears and pain, to receive with joy the reward of work.” The bishop imposes the manipulo on the subdeacon pronouncing the following words: “Receive the manipulo by which the fruits of good works are designated.” The manipulo, then, refers to the sufferings of this life in view of the eternal reward and joy. It is also a symbolic expression of one of the beatitudes proclaimed by Our Lord:


It has its origin in a piece of canvas or handkerchief that the consuls used to wear and waved in the air to mark the beginning or end of an act. It also served to wipe away sweat or tears. The handpiece, which must be the liturgical color of the day, must have in its center, which comes over the arm itself, a cross that the wearer must kiss, both before putting it on and after taking it off. Ordinarily a cross is also usually placed at each end, although it is not properly commanded. Spiritually it reminds us of good works and that the works and pain offered to God will be splendidly rewarded


When the ecclesiastical hierarchy received social consideration it began to use the manípulo although holding it in the left hand; sign that it no longer had a practical function, since the left hand is almost never used. Gradually the use spread to Roman clerics who were always reluctant to have this distinction granted to other churches. However, it was extended, and so the handpiece returned to practical use in the altar service. Slowly, yes. ix, it returns to its ornamental category in successive folds to which the primitive white linen cloth is subjected: hence the name of manipulus (beam). In the S. xiv already has the shape of a strip of cloth that it has kept since then, although with notable variations in its ornamentation that in certain periods (s. tx-xtti) was of great wealth. The manipulo is only used at Mass; In addition to the sub-deacon, he is used by the deacon, the priest and the bishop; a recent provision leaves its optional use. The interpretations about the manipulo are related to the practical function that has been given to it at different times, as we have just seen. The prayer that is said when putting it on is: «Deserve, Lord, to wear the handcuff of tears and pain, so that I receive with joy the prize of my work. The manipulo retained the handkerchief shape until at least the 9th century. Rabano Mauro speaks of him as a shroud of sacred use. Little by little, folded over on itself, it acquired the shape of a long narrow band, adorned with fringes at both ends, including bells, enriched with gold threads and embroidery, until towards the end of the 14th century, it had already acquired the final form: a narrow band of cloth of the same shape as the stole and chasuble. The decoration with the cross was rare in the Middle Ages and was not prescribed until the Pius V missal. The right to wear it corresponds to the major orders from the subdiaconate and limitedly to the Eucharistic celebration. There being no reference to it, in the chapter on the Sacred Vestments of the General Norms of the Roman Missal of 1969, it fell into disuse, although it has never been expressly prohibited.


The prayer that the priest pronounces when putting it on is: Deserve, Lord, to wear the handgrip of tears and pain, to be able to receive with joy the prize of my works. The manipulo means the ties of the hands when our Lord is flogged.


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