Impalement is Not the Only Option


Here we see the coat of arms of Cistercian Abbot Christian Feuerstein, the Abbot of Monastery Rein in Steryia. Rather than marshaling his own arms with those of his abbey together on one shield by impaling them or by dimidiation his personal arms are depicted on a separate shield from those of the abbey thus retaining the clarity of each. His family name means “fire-stone” so his personal arms depict a flint being struck by steel to make fire. The two shields are then both surmounted by the external ornaments of an abbot, in this case the method often favored in Europe outside Italy of using the mitre and veiled crozier instead of the Roman galero. This is not, in the opinion of many, myself included, exactly correct. The galero should be used but, as I said, this more ancient method of ensigning the arms of an abbot is still employed by some.

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