Priests in the role of models posing in historical costumes for the catwalk display of the Belgian cathedral

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Dressed in elaborate priestly robes, volunteer models took to the catwalk in the cathedral of the Belgian city Tournai. The unusual show, organized by the cathedral, is part of an effort to promote the collection of religious fabrics that it says are its richest Belgium. It contained about 30 garments, including functional capes, known as sackcloth, embroidered with gold and silver thread.

This was the first time in 50 years that the clothes were presented to the public, said the historian of the cathedral Michel-Amand Jacques.

THE Rudy Opsomer, President of Cathedral of the Friends of Tournai, said the clothes were usually kept in the church chambers, away from the limelight.

“It was a pity they were no longer visible to the general public,” he said Opsomer. “It’s an opportunity to see things beyond the religious side of these clothes.”

During the show, models presented the costumes, which showed the evolution of priestly costume from the 17th to the 21st century, to an audience of about 100 people. The 15th century ornaments kept in the cathedral were too fragile to display.

THE Opsomer He said that since the clothes are considered sacred, they could not be worn by people other than religious officials. The ecclesiastical tradition obliges the staff of the cathedral to burn the clothes as soon as they wear out.

So he said they were lucky to have his license Bishop of Tournai Guy Harpigny to perform the show.

The way priests dress has evolved over time, he said Zak, with the most detailed and luxurious garments worn in the Baroque period being replaced by simpler ones following the instructions set by the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

In the 18th century, he said Zak, a set of priest clothes cost 15,000 to 18,000 French pounds, which today amounts to about 250,000 to 300,000 euros ($ 286,000 to $ 343,000) – the same price as a medium-sized church at the time.

“Times have changed, the church has changed,” he said Zak. “We have to be in the place of the people at that time, in the 17th or 18th century, when these ornaments were offered to God».

THE Harpigny, who attended the show, said the event was not a way for the church to brag about its past riches, but rather to show how the foundation accompanies cultural and artistic movements over time.

“The fact that we are showing the national heritage of the church in society is wonderful,” he told Reuters.

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