Archbishop Zuppi of Bologna


The coat of arms of the new Archbishop of Bologna, the Most Rev. Matteo Zuppi.

The shield depicts the Book of the Gospels, a river and the cross of Constantine. The book is open to John 4:34-35.  Jesus at Jacob’s well with the Samaritan woman said , “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say perhaps four more months and then the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” The river evokes the Tiber and Rome. The sign of water and the river runs through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. The Cross with Alpha and Omega is a sign evoking Christ crucified and risen, the beginning and end of all things. This cross is above the triumphal arch of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome where Archbishop Zuppi has lived for most of his priestly ministry.

The scroll below shows the motto chosen by Archbishop Zuppi “Gaudium Domini Fortitudo Vestra.” The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Neh 8:10)

The pallium is both unnecessary and very ill-placed.

7 thoughts on “Archbishop Zuppi of Bologna

  1. Hans van Heijningen

    Placing a well-shaped pallium on a correct point in epsicopal coat of arms is always a hell of a job. Hanging from the upper side creates also problems by covering quite a lot of the upper half of a shield.

    When I myself designed a new coat of arms for cardinal Willem Eijk (Utrecht, Netherlands, a reamke of his arms as a bishop from Groningen-Leeuwarden) I placed it at the upper-side of the shield, but not slack-hanging, instead: stiff-standing on the upper side. Then the pallium will cover less of the chief. See my own drawing on ‘araldicavaticana’, the sinister drawing. I came on my idea by watching archbishops carrying their pallium: stiff around the neck/shoulders.

    What is your opinion?

    1. guyselvester Post author

      I tend to agree with Heim who asserted that the pallium really should be placed as a charge ON the shield in the arms of Metropolitan Archbishops and attempts to depict it as an external ornament in the overall achievement should be avoided.

  2. ioannespetrus

    Father, I was thinking about the heraldic use of the pallium recently, given the resurgence in the Catholic Herald of the question “Are there really two popes?”

    I think the Pope emeritus (so to speak, but I mean the “institution” — per Pope Francis — and not just Pope Benedict), so long as he is emeritus, could/should drop the pallium from his arms. What do you think?

    1. guyselvester Post author

      Well, I actually think it never should have been included in the first place. Having said that, I agree that it probably should be dropped from his arms as an emeritus pope. In all likelihood Pope Benedict felt that it wasn’t worth a new version of his achievement. I don’t think he makes much use of heraldry at all these days and felt it was better to leave well enough alone. Perhaps he was also thinking he’d be dead by now. Anyway, I agree in theory but reiterate that the better solution is not to include the pallium in a coat of arms at all in the first place. Then the point is moot.

  3. ioannespetrus

    Hmm… I considered the practicality of it with Pope Benedict, but let me propose that — if the pallium is indeed to be discouraged — there still should be a distinction between Archbishops and Metropolitans. Luckily the (old) Catholic Encyclopaedia has said that the former should have one bar on their cross and the latter two.

    Personally though, as it seems more difficult to make this shift, better to have the pallium…but, yes, atop the shield — which then seems a chasuble to me — rather than below. I would even suggest that it cover a division per pall where applicable.

    1. guyselvester Post author

      I disagree. That’s not a good solution. No external ornament should ever extend in front of the shield…ever. The only good solution is to incorporate a pall (the heraldic name for the pallium) as a charge ON the shield, in other words, augment the design of the arms to include the pall. Heim suggested this as well over 30 years ago.

      I also don’t agree, I’m afraid, with your assertion that there must be some sort of heraldic distinction for metropolitans to distinguish them from other archbishops. This is because being a metropolitan is a distinction of jurisdiction and it is not for life. Just as there is no heraldic distinction in the external ornaments of a diocesan bishop as opposed to an auxiliary bishop (NOTE: I said in the external ornaments so, for example, the fact that diocesans marshal their arms with the diocesan arms is not a real distinction. Firstly, because that, too, is not permanent and can change multiple times if he is translated to another diocese. Secondly, that is not a universal custom. Thirdly, there are places, like Germany, where auxiliary bishops also marshal the diocesan arms to their own.) there’s no need to distinguish archbishops.

      So, just as there is no distinction of external heraldic ornaments for different kinds of bishops there does not “need” to be a distinction of external heraldic ornaments for different kinds of archbishops.

      The external ornaments indicate the rank of the bearer; priest, prelate, bishop, archbishop which are permanently held once bestowed upon an individual. They do not indicate the job description (for lack of a better term) of the bearer. It is worth noting, too, that metropolitans are not considered to be of a higher rank than other archbishops. They are simply different; not superior. In addition, despite the erroneous assertions of many there is no heraldic distinction for those archbishops who also have the title “Primate”. Some contend they are entitled to a green galero with 15 green tassels but that is the external ornament proper to Patriarchs, not Primates.

      1. ioannespetrus

        Given what you’ve said of the pall, then I come to agree with you that it is unnecessary.

        I should have also done my own fact-checking: the Catholic Encyclopaedia associates the double-bar or double-traverse with Primates, not Metropolitans; but it does acknowledge that even then the practice slipped ranks so that every Archbishop adopted it for himself.

        In which case I also agree that the fifteen green tassels should remain Patriarchal; otherwise I would have pointed out that those who would extend this practice to Primates, if I’m not (again) mistaken, intertwine gold in the Patriarch’s threads. (I blame Wikipedia.)

        Yet still I can’t help but feel that Metropolitans should be distinguished from Archbishops. I don’t know…maybe because our heraldry is sigilistic (if that describes seals)? I’ll work through it, but anyway you and your blog have been helpful and interesting, so thanks, and I look forward to more.

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