Zone (vestment)

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Caryatid wearing chiton from the Erechtheion (British Museum. Note the blousing, or Kolpos, over the Zone.)

The Zone (Greek: ζώνη, zonē) is a form of girdle or belt common in the ancient eastern Mediterranean. The term occurs in Homer, for instance, as (Greek: ζώνην, zonēn) girdle and can also refer to the waist itself. Classical Greek had a verb (Greek: ζώννυσθαι, zonusthai) put a girdle around the loins, or "gird one's self."

In modern Greek and Church Slavonic the zone or (Поясъ, poyas - belt) is a liturgical belt worn as a vestment by priests and bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches. It is made of brocade with an embroidered or appliquéd cross in the center, with long ribbons at the ends for tying around the waist. It is worn over the sticharion and the epitrachelion and keeps them in place as the priest performs the Divine Liturgy. In this regard it is similar to the cincture of the Roman Catholic Church.

The zone is not worn for services when the priest is not fully vested, e.g. vespers or matins.

The zone worn by priests of the Old Believers of the Russian Tradition, have a unique design, with four pendant strips, two on each hip. This was the result of legislation passed under Empress Catherine the Great, mandating that the vestments of Old Believer clergy be sufficiently different from those of clergy belonging to the State Church, in order to avoid confusion.

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