QUAERITUR: Use of the amice with the surplice

From a reader:

Is it appropriate to wear an amice, when wearing a cope and surplice?

Under usual circumstances, such as Benediction, the priest or deacon will not use the amice with the surplice and cope.

However, an assistant priest at a Solemn or a Pontifical Mass will use the amice over the surplice before putting on the cope.  So would the attendant deacons who would sit on either side of the bishop, handling his miter, etc., but they use the dalmatic.

Here is a photo of the vesting of a bishop before a Pontifical Mass.   I was acting as one of the attending deacons and you can see me on the left with the amice over the surplice but before we put on our dalmatics.  The second deacon is to the bishop’s left.

Here is a photo from a different Mass.  The two attending deacons are standing in their places.


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  1. PostCatholic says:

    Remind me what the vestment I used over my surplice and soutane when attending my archbishop as a server is called. It was plain white and resembled a humeral veil, and I think was chiefly for keeping a miter clean from the oils of one’s hands.

  2. off2 says:

    Vimpum? Plural vimpa.

  3. PostCatholic says:

    Thank you off2, yes, vimpa/e. That’s a word from a very long time ago for me.

  4. doanli says:

    Beautiful vestments. Beautiful photos.

  5. What is the purpose of the amice?

  6. Trevor says:


    The amice was traditionally a “sweat collector” (as was the maniple). It could get hot in vestments, and you didn’t want to get the outer vestments all sweaty and damage them. Over time, spiritual significance was attached to it (the vesting prayers call in the “helmet of salvation” in reference to Ephesians).

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