Facia – Sash

The sash cincture, a kind of belt, is worn on top of the cassock (the soutane), with the colour of honour depending on the rank. Its German equivalent would be “Soutanenbinde” or “Talarzingulum” (Talarcingulum). Monks and friar wear a leather belt or a simple string.

In Germany, the term “Zingulum” is used for this belt as well – which is slightly confusing: In fact, the sash cincture is no cincture in the true sense of the word. The cincture is used as a belt to tie the alb. Usually, it is just a plain white tasseled string; according to the liturgical colours, it might be coloured as well. Nowadays, the cincture is not mandatory anymore (AEM 298), yet it is worn in certain cases, according to the making of the alb. Symbolically the cincture stands for abstinence.

A detailed elaboration on cinctures may be drawn from Joseph Braun’s book “Die liturgische Gewandung im Occident und Orient”, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt, 1964, pages 101 – 117.

Colours and materials:
white silk decorated with moiré patterns, golden fringes and embroidery depicting the coat of arms, sometimes without embroidery.

red silk decorated with moiré patterns, fringes with hand-tied knots
Before the Second Vatican Council, the sash of the cardinals used to end in two golden tassels instead of the knots and fringes which are common today.

Apostolic Nuncios:
Violet silk decorated with moiré patterns, fringes with hand-tied knots

Bishops, Monsignori:
Violet silk, fringes with hand-tied knots

Black cotton, fringes without knots
Moreover, there used to be sashes made of black silk with moiré patterns, fringes and knots as well as versions made from black silk but without the moiré patterns.


Overall view of the sash of a cardinal

View on the fringes and knots:

Detailed view on the knots:

Detailed view on the fringed ends:

View on the Velcro fastener:

View on the material (red silk with moiré patterns, 15cm wide). There are 13 cm wide sashes as well.


Apostolic Nuncio

Bischop, Monsignore

black moiré patterns


(c) Source of the pictures in the table above