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A small cross is generally sewed or embroidered on the stole at both ends and in the middle; the cross, however, is prescribed only for the middle, where the priest kisses the stole before putting it on.
There are no express precepts concerning the material of the stole, but silk, or at least a halfsilk fabric, is most appropriate.
But in the ninth century, subdeacons and acolytes still wore both the planeta and the stole, although, to distinguish them from the deacons, priests, and bishops, there were definite limitations to their use of the latter vestment.
The earliest evidences of the use of the stole at Rome date from the second half of the eighth century and the beginning of the ninth.
In the East, however, it is mentioned very early, the deacon's stole being frequently referred to even in the fourth and fifth centuries.
The priest's stole is not mentioned in the East until the eighth century.
Deacons wear the stole like a sash, the vestment resting on the left shoulder and thence passing across the breast and back to the right side.
The stole of the priest extends from the back of the neck across the shoulders to the breast, where the two halves either cross each other or fall down straight according as the stole is worn over the alb or the surplice.