No longer used as one of the vestments of the Roman Catholic church since the Second Vatican Council, the maniple was an embroidered band of silk, about 110cm long, 8cm wide and with ends about 12cm wide. In the same liturgical colours as the other vestments, it was worn upon the left arm of the priest. Originally it was only a piece of linen with which the people used to wipe their face and hands - in a word, a handkerchief. It does not seem to have been used in the Roman liturgy before the twelfth century. It came to symbolize work and sorrow.
The maniple is an ornamental vestment in the form of a band, a little over a yard long and from somewhat over two to almost four inches wide, which is placed on the left arm in such manner that it falls in equal length on both sides of the arm.
Maniples made of a fold of material existed at least as early as the beginning of the tenth century; this is proved by the maniple at Durham made for Bishop Frithestan.
In the Greek Rite the vestment that corresponds to the maniple is the epigonation.
The rôles of a subdeacon at Solemn High Mass included those of crucifer, singing the Epistle, carrying the Book of Gospels in the Gospel procession and holding it while the deacon sang the Gospel, and assisting the priest or deacon in setting the altar.
The subdeacon's specific vestment was the tunicle, in practice almost indistinguishable in form from the deacon's dalmatic (the tunicle was sometimes somewhat smaller than the dalmatic, or had slightly less elaborate decoration, but this was often unnoticebale by the average lay churchgoer).
He wore a maniple, until this was no longer required by Pope Paul VI with the instruction Tres annos abhinc.
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