On my recent trip to Ethiopia, I was privileged enough to stop by a ministry of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa which helped empower women with vocation skills. One such skill was sewing. It turned out that these women, as educational projects in learning to become a seamstress, sewed vestments. One of my favorite things that they sold in their shop was an Ethiopia biretta – the Qob. It cost about $1.50, but was priceless in that it set my little ecclesiastical heart aflutter.
The “qob” (they kept pronouncing it like “cap” – I’m not exactly sure if it was just “cap” said with an Ethiopia accent, or whether that is how it is actually pronounced in Ge’ez) fulfills exactly the same function for the Eastern clergy as a biretta in the Latin Church, although in the Greek and Russian tradition there is a slightly more “elaborate” (and rigid) version that is worn during liturgical services as opposed to this every-day clerical headgear. Black is worn for everyday liturgical seasons, with a white qob for feast days.
To see more pictures of said ecclesiastical headgear: http://philippi-collection.blogspot.com/2011/01/qob-headgear-of-clergy-of-ethiopian.html
The Women’s Promotion Centre (the organization that trained the nice ladies who sewed my little white hat) is located:
Catholic Archdiocese Women’s Promotion Centre
If I were to market this sort of ecclesiastical headgear, I would most assuredly put this on my storefront window:
Yours in Christ,
Br. James Dominic, OP