Greek Orthodox clergyman wearing clerical kalimavkion.

A kalimavkion (Greek: καλυμμαύχιον), kalymmavchi (καλυμμαύχι), or, by metathesis of the word's internal syllables, kamilavka (Russian: Камила́вка, romanizedKamilávka), is a clerical headdress worn by Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic monks (in which case it is black) or awarded to clergy (in which case it may be red or purple). An approximate equivalent in the Latin Church is the biretta (Latin: biretum/birretum).

In the Byzantine Empire the term kamelaukion (καμηλ(λ)αύκιον or καμιλαύκιον) was a more general one for formal headgear, including items worn by the imperial family.


The kalimavkion is a stiff cylindrical head covering, similar to a stovepipe hat but without a brim. It first came in use after the reforms of Patriarch Nikon in the 1600s.[1] The kalimavkion is worn during services; at other times, the softer skufia is worn in its place. The specific shape and colouring will differ between the various ethnic traditions:

See also


  1. ^ "7 Types of Orthodox Clergy and Monastic Headwear". The Catalog of Good Deeds. 2018-11-22. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  2. ^ a b "Awards for Priests in the Russian Orthodox Church". Good Guys Wear Black | Discerning Your Vocation In The Orthodox Church. 2020-05-16. Retrieved 2021-06-28.