In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches that follow the Byzantine rite, all bishops wear the club and as a church award for some priests. Its origins go back to the practice of the Byzantine emperors to present ceremonial swords to their generals in recognition of their valor in defending the empire. Such swords were often accompanied by elaborate hip shields that hung from the belt and protected the leg from bruising caused by the constant slashing of the sword against the thigh. When the emperors began to reward the clergy, only the hip shield was awarded.
The vestment is a rigid diamond-shaped fabric that hangs down on the right side of the body below the waist and is suspended at one corner from a belt pulled over the left shoulder. In the Russian tradition, this is a reward for service; In the Greek tradition, this is usually a sign that the priest has an advanced degree and the blessing of hearing a confession. If a Russian priest is rewarded with both a loincloth and a club, he shifts the former to the left. It is believed to symbolize "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17); in other words, the protection of faith by the bearer by destroying everything unclean and vicious.
The origin of epigonation is unclear. According to some sources, it was an ornate tablion or hip shield awarded to officials of the Byzantine Empire, initially military and then civilian. According to other sources, it was originally an ornamented handkerchief, then called encheirion, "hand cloth", which received its current form and name in the 12th century. In the first case, it has no Western Christian counterpart; in the latter, it would correspond to the Sub-cinctorium, used by popes in solemn masses.
It is also said to have been used to store documents relating to one's position in the church. Documents such as certificates of ordination and rank would be most relevant when traveling. Holding them at the liturgy would be a symbol of the possession of the power to celebrate the shrines of the liturgy.