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In the Orthodox liturgical tradition, the omophorion is one of the bishop's vestments and the symbol of his spiritual and ecclesiastical authority. Originally of wool, it is a band of brocade decorated with crosses and is worn about the neck and around the shoulders . By symbolizing the lost sheep that is found and carried on the Good Shepherd's shoulders, it signifies the bishop's pastoral role as the icon of Christ.
When the rubrics call for the omophorion to be removed and replaced frequently, the standard great omophorion is replaced for the sake of convenience with the small omophorion, a shorter band worn after the manner of an epitrachelion. In some places, when several bishops concelebrate , it is now the custom for the chief celebrant to use the great omophorion when called for, and the other bishops to wear the small omophorion throughout .
Clergy and ecclesiastical institutions subject to a bishop's authority are often said to be "under his omophorion".
The equivalent vestment in Western Christian usage is the pallium, whose use is subject to different rubrics and restrictions.
In Oriental Orthodoxy the omophorion takes a number of different forms. The Armenian Orthodox emip'oron is similar to the Byzantine great omophorion. The Syriac Orthodox baţrašil or uroro rabbo ('great stole') is a straight strip of embroidered material, about 20 cm wide, with a head-hole midway along it, that hangs down a bishop's chest and back. Coptic bishops used to wear the omophorion wrapped around their heads like a turban: this was called a ballin.
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