The Right Reverend and Right Honorable Richard Chartres, KCVO, ChStJ, PC, FSA will be stepping down this month after twenty-two years as Bishop of London, the third most senior position in the hierarchy of the Church of England.
His coat of arms (above) depicts the arms of the See of London with its two crossed swords as an allusion to its patron, St. Paul impaled with his personal arms which depict a charge of a labyrinth. This, in my opinion, is a clever way to do a kind of canting arms the medieval labyrinth being a famous feature on the floor of Chartres cathedral.
Thanks to one of my regular correspondents for this fine image of the Bishop’s coat of arms.
The motto’s a joke, right?
Nope. It is the motto of the Diocese of London.
This is a quote from the Magna Charta
It is supremely ironic that any Anglican or Anglican institution would employ this motto. It is invariably taken out of context. The full sentence is: “In primis concessimus Deo et hac presenti carta nostra confirmavimus pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum quod anglicana ecclesia libera sit, et habeat omnia jura sua integra et libertates suas illesas.” [In the first place we grant unto God, and by this our present Charter we have confirmed for us, and for our heirs for ever, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have her whole rights and her liberties inviolable.]
Its original meaning in Magna Carta […anglicana ecclesia libera sit,…] is that the English church shall be free of royal interference. Anglican usage clearly implies that the English Church shall be free of papal control. Indeed, in the first volume of the Statutes of the State of Delaware, Magna Carta is translated in full. The words ‘…anglicana ecclesia libera sit,…’ are translated as ‘The Church of England shall be free’. No doubt the Runnymeade barons and prelates are turning over in their graves!