Lutheran Bäffchen or Clergy Collar

Tonight is mystery question night: What is the name of this item?  Any guesses? We have all seen these, or at least seen pictures of theses. The tiny linen item in the display case caught my attention because it was so unexpectedly, surprisingly tiny: two tiny, little strips of linen on a band. They are worn by Clergy and are an Ecclesiastical Sewing item. But what are they called?


Clergy Collar on display at the International Center, LC-MS, St. Louis, MO
Clergy Collar on display at the International Center, LC-MS Headquarters in St. Louis, MO

Until this past weekend, I was not certain what the name of this Liturgical Garment might be.  It was a familiar item worn by clergy in my favorite movies, such as Pride and Prejudice. Occasionally, these clergy collars pop up here and there, in the most unexpected places.  There are many variations of the item, what ever it is called. What is it called?  That is a great question.

Clergy collar worn in the 19th Century
Clergy collar worn in the 19th Century

I must have stood and looked at this little item for a few moments, checking out the size, and the attachment of the tabs to the band………….and you know how it goes when at a museum………..someone calls you over to see the amazing thing they have found. Your not quite ready to wander away from your interesting find, but off you go: questions still unanswered, still pondering the unknown and uncertain. Was the name something simple or complex?

Clergy Collar made from linen 19th Century
Clergy Collar made from linen 19th Century

But I couldn’t quite let this little item get out of my mind. The burning question remained: what does one call these little clergy collars. The first moment I had free, I was off with the camera, determined to capture one last shot. There was only a moment before we had to leave.

Here was the shot and not a moment to spare, it was off to the next event. I would have to wait and view the photos at a later date to catch the name.

Bäffchen is German for Clergy Collar with bands
Bäffchen is German for Clergy Collar with bands

Now, finally, a week or so later, there is a spare moment to review a few photos,  recall good times with friends, both old and new, and remember the wonders from the International Center Historical Museum.  And was the name captured forever in a photos? Yes, there it was. I had the shot. In German, the little collar with bands is called Bäffchen or Beffchen, or so the sign and the internet tell us.

And the funniest part is, the translation into English is as simple as what the item is: a clergy collar with bands. That was far too easy. Next time the unknown hits, I’ll remember to call it by the simplest name imaginable!  “What a good laugh,” as Lydia would say from Pride and Prejudice.

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Bäffchen, Clergy Collar, Ecclesiastical Sewing, International Center St. Louis


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