Bishop Zglejszewski

The coat of arms (below) of Bishop Andrzej Zglejszewski who will be ordained titular bishop of Nicives and Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, NY on March 25. The bishop is a native of Poland but emigrated to the USA before ordination and was ordained for the Long Island diocese.


The following description is from the program of his ordination: The symbolism to be found in Bishop Zglejszewski’s coat of arms begins with the colors, also called tinctures. The major part of the shield is painted white (argent) over red (gules), which recalls the national flag and coat of arms of Poland, where the Bishop was born. The blue (azure) found in the top half of the border joins these first two tinctures to recall the national colors of the United States of America, to which he immigrated in 1987. The gold (Or) of the lower half joins the white to recall the colors of the Vatican City-State. Blue and gold, together recalling the sea and sand of the island diocese, are the primary tinctures of the coat of arms of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, where he was ordained a priest in 1990 and which he will now serve as Auxiliary Bishop. The color blue at the top of the shield recalls that Mary is Queen of Heaven and Help of Christians, who spreads her protective mantle over her children. Our Lady is also symbolized by the fleur-de-lis at the bottom of the shield. This stylized lily has been used for many centuries to recall her virginal purity. Placed on the shield together with three Crosses, it alludes also to Mary, the faithful disciple, standing at the foot of the Cross of her Son on Calvary.

The saltire or “X” shape in the center of the shield is also known as Saint Andrew‟s Cross, after the Apostle who, according to tradition, was crucified on a Cross in this shape. Saint Andrew is the Bishop’s baptismal patron. Like the shield itself, the saltire is divided across the middle, in an arrangement called counterchanging: where the shield is red, it is painted white, and is red where the shield is white. This coloration allows for another layer of symbolism, in each of the parts of the saltire. The white bottom half of the saltire becomes a depiction of the carpenter‟s square, a traditional symbol of Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The carpenter’s square appears to cover and protect the fleur-de-lis, symbolizing Saint Joseph’s protection both of Our Lady and of the Universal Church. The top half of the saltire, painted red, reminds one of the Holy Spirit, and the grace that he brings by his descent upon the newborn Church at Pentecost. The Bishop has dedicated much of his ministry to the study and service of Divine Worship, and this part of the saltire also recalls the grace of the Sacraments which is given to the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

The two crosses on either side of the saltire are also counterchanged, and symbolize not only the crosses on Calvary but also the passion and martyrdom of Saint Agnes, the patron of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. This heroic young woman faced martyrdom at the age of 13 in Rome; tradition says she was turned in to the authorities by suitors she had spurned because she made a vow of virginity to Christ. She bore a double cross: the “white martyrdom” of purity, and the “red martyrdom” that involved the shedding of her blood.

2 thoughts on “Bishop Zglejszewski

  1. Hans van Heijningen

    Hurray! One the best crest for a USA-auxiliarian bishop in last months! And we see -as a coincidence- a union between de Polish flag = white red, and the Ukrainian flag = blue-yellow. It is a wonderful surprise.s

  2. guyselvester Post author

    Except the blue and gold are NOT a reference to the flag of Ukraine. They are the tinctures of the diocesan coat of arms and also refer to the sea and sand because the diocese is located on an island. There is no reference to Ukraine in this coat of arms!


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