Cardinal Woelki of Cologne


On September 20 Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki of Berlin will be installed as the 32nd Archbishop of Cologne, Germany. The very simple arms of the see (Argent a cross throughout Sable) are impaled with the cardinal’s equally simple personal arms.

A blue field with a silver wheel with 6 golden wedges as spokes alternately directed outward or inward. This is the so-called Radbild of Brother Klaus, Niklaus von Flue (1417-1487), which refers to the cardinal’s home parish of St. Bruder Klaus in the Bruder Klaus settlement in Cologne-Mülheim. This circular pattern with the aufzufassenden as golden wedges combines theological, philosophical and mathematical elements. Three rays emanate from the center, just as God does not want to remain in Himself but in turn loves man . Three beams have the opposite disposition and lead to God, the response of those desires which are filled with His love.

The motto, from Acts 5:32, translates as, “We are Witnesses”.

1 thought on “Cardinal Woelki of Cologne

  1. Hans van Heijningen

    The story of this cardinal and bishop is typical German: every times he was transferred the crest changed a lot.
    A) WOELKI as an auxiliarian of Colonia: per fess: I) Köln dioces, a black cross on argent; II) the BruderKlaus wheel, with silver rings and golden wedges but on a red field. Motto: NON SUMUS TESTES.
    B) WOELKI as archbishop of Berlin: the diocesan (quartered) crest with in the base as 5th field the BruderKlaus wheel in red and blue on gold. I can image that brought better harmony her than a red field behind the wheel. I think the difference of a 5th field in base would be to create difference with the crest of predecesor Sterszinski who had also a wheel on a golden field as an escutcheon of pretence. As a cardinal the entire shield had not been changed.
    C) WOELKI as archbishop of Colonia. I expected for the shield a return to the former shape: with a siver/gold wheel on a red field. These are the main colors of both Colonia and Mühlheim. I saw now per pale the archdiocese and a BLUE field ….. Could it be as a honor to predecessor cardinal Meissner whose auxiliarian Rainer Woelki was 2003-2011?

    I look forward to what will happen with the shield of Ulrich Neymeyr, auxiliarian of Mainz, who was today appointed bishop of Erfurt-Meiningen. His present shield is ‘argent two blue fishes in saltire and a blue chief dancetty’ 3x upwards. Motto CHRISTUS SUSCEPIT NOS.


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