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As traditionally defined...
amictus, a garment). A rectangular vestment, made of white linen, about two and
a half feet long by two feet wide, with two long strings. It is worn under the
alb, covering the neck and shoulders, by priest, deacon and subdeacon at Mass.
It probably originated as a scarf, wrapped as a protection round the neck, and
before the biretta came into use it was pulled up over the head when going to
and from the altar. This is still the custom among monks and friars, who use an
amice shaped like their hoods. The amice has a tiny cross on it and was formerly
often ornamented with an apparel; this has survived in the Ambrosian and
Dominican rites and in Spain, and has been revived elsewhere. Symbolically
considered, the amice represents the 'helmet of salvation' and 'discipline of
the tongue.'" (Catholic Dictionary)
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