The phelonion is a large, sleeveless, outer cape-like vestment, somewhat akin to a poncho, and is worn over the sticharion. The front part reaches to just above the waist, in order to facilitate the movement of a priest’s hands during church services, while the back of the phelonion hangs as far down as the ankles. The phelonion symbolises the red tunic with which Pilate dressed our Lord before His Crucifixion. Thus indicating the torments and suffering that a priest will endure during his ministry in order to serve God’s faithful and bear witness to the world of the reality of the Cross as the means to pass into the grace of the Resurrection. In addition to this the phelonion reminds the priests of the garment of righteousness with which they must be vested as servants of Christ. The sleeveless nature of the phelonion, is explained by St Cosmas the Aetolian, as a reference to the fact that the priest has his hands bound close to himself, and not open, receptive or attached to worldly things, and thus can receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit unhindered.