The Most Rev. Anthony Fisher, OP until now Bishop of Parramatta and previously auxiliary bishop of Sydney will be installed as the IX Archbishop of Sydney on November 12. His coat of arms (above) was prepared by Mr. Chris Wolter who had also done the work on the archbishop’s arms in Parramatta and as auxiliary bishop (below).
In the interest of full disclosure I, along with the President of the Australian Heraldry Society, Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, were consulted on this coat of arms. As with any such consultation some of our advice was followed and some was not but the archbishop and Mr. Wolter were very open to hearing suggestions. Essentially, the archbishop retains the arms he first assumed when becoming auxiliary bishop of Sydney. Those arms combine the armorial bearings of the Order of Preachers (more commonly referred to as the Dominicans) of which he is a member impaled with arms that are based on the arms used by St. John Cardinal Fisher when bishop of Rochester, England with some minor alterations for difference (i.e. the inclusion of the Marian symbol). Over this on an inescutcheon (sometimes referred to as an escutcheon “in pretense” although that expression isn’t wholly appropriate in this case) is the arms of the See of Sydney.
The solution “Fisher-Syndey”is 100% correct. But anyhow I am bit disappointed, nl. that a tradition “per pale 1)diocese, 2)personal symbols” has been broken. It is like for instance the coats of arms of John le Voir, bishop of New-Ulm, who did the same (having the escutcheon of pretence in de centre of the shield.
These solutions are up to me too much “we want it all”. What was against re-arranging the blazon-Fisher in the following way:
1) the diocese of Sydney as in the shield – Pell.
2) the field with the dolphin, the marian monogram and the border, with a chief ‘Domnicans’?.
It was suggested and, apparently, rejected.
There is no precedence in Sydney for having the Dominican (or the arms of any other religious order) in chief. That would have been a brake with tradition.
Archbishop Fisher is following an earlier pattern set by Archbishop Polding – the first Archbishop of Sydney – who had per pale, the arms of the Benedictine congregation of England dexter and the personal devices sinister, as well as the Southern Cross of the Colony of New South Wales as an escutcheon of pretense oddly positioned at the top of the shield. Albeit, Polding’s entire arraignment, set in a horse head shape was rather flamboyant, it is a most fitting for Sydney, once again after so many years having a member of a Religious Order as Ordinary.
Would you mind placing a picture of the coat of arms of archbishop Polding on this mailsite so that we all can see it? Idea: to place the coats of arms of all Syndey archbishop on the archdiocesan web, to spread the knowledge of (ecclesiastical) heraldry?
I will but at the moment I am away from my personal library. I will post it as soon as I am able.