Category Archives: Archbishops

Archbishop Farrell of Dublin

On December 29, 2020 His Holiness Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. Dermot Farrell (66), a priest of the Diocese of Meath and since 2018 Bishop of Ossory, Ireland to be the 51st Metropolitan Archbishop of Dublin. He succeeds Abp. Diarmuid Martin.

He had already assumed a coat of arms as Bishop of Ossory. The image below is not official but was a cut and paste job by me to see what his arms as archbishop will look like. In Ireland the archbishops of Armagh (who is the Primate of All Ireland) and of Dublin (who is the Primate of Ireland) use arms of the See that appear identical because this stems from a time when all archbishops tended to use arms depicting a pall (pallium) and a cross as symbols of being an archbishop. The archiepiscopal insignia then later became associated with certain metropolitical & archiepiscopal sees and it remains so to this day, including some (like the Church of Ireland Diocese of Dublin, or the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury) where it seems particularly incongruous. This is because the pallium is worn by Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archbishops as a symbol of sharing in the ministry of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and, as such, they receive it from him as a sign of their office.

Below we see what Archbishop Farrell’s coat of arms may well look like (or something close to this). I note that his predecessor, App. Martin, did not use a coat of arms.

Thomas Becket

St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated by nobles who served King Henry II of England in 1170. They entered the cathedral and killed him. His conflict with the king centered around the Constitutions of Clarendon, a series of laws Henry wished to impose to check the increase in power the Church gained under the rather chaotic reign of his predecessor King Stephan. Becket opposed these laws as the state over reaching into the internal affairs of the Church. Their conflict became more heated until Henry supposedly (though not definitely) was to have said to his barons, “Will no one rid me of this meddling clerk?”. It’s doubtful he actually said that and if he did it certainly would have been in French since Henry II didn’t speak English. This was taken to mean he desired to see Becket gone, so they went to the cathedral on December 29th and killed him.

This all happened before the advent of systematized heraldry as we know it. becket certainly did not have a coat of arms. But, according to the long-standing traditional custom of attributing coats of arms to great persons after the fact a coat of arms was devised for him. It appears in many places erroneously as the coat of arms of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury. While it certainly was not his actual armorial bearings it is, nevertheless, a very handsome achievement especially impaled with those of the See of Canterbury.

Archbishops of Washington, DC

Here are the armorial bearings of the Archbishops of Washington, DC almost all of whom have been elevated to Cardinal with the notable exception of the first one, Archbishop Michael Curley who was also the Archbishop of Baltimore. At first the Archdiocese of Washington was part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Later, a dual archdiocese of Baltimore-Washington was created with Curley leading it. Eventually, Washington became a separate archdiocese but Curley was still appointed its archbishop making him, simultaneously, the archbishop of the oldest American diocese (Baltimore) and the newest at that time (Washington). A short time later Washington, DC received its own residential archbishop with the appointment of Patrick O’Boyle.

There is no coat of arms for Theodore McCarrick who is no longer a cardinal or even a cleric. A blank shield is used in place of his armorial bearings but his time in Washington in still noted because under Mr. McCarrick’s tenure the armorial bearings of the archdiocese were changed and that change, despite McCarrick’s disgrace, has been employed by his two successors as well. One can only hope that at some point in the future the original coat of arms of the archdiocese will be adopted again.

Archbishop Michael Curley (the archdiocesan arms hadn’t been adopted yet and Curley impaled his arms with those of Baltimore)
Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle
William Cardinal Baum
James Cardinal Hickey
Archdiocesan arms changed by Mr. Theodore McCarrick
Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Cardinal-Designate Wilton Gregory

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

On October 24 it was announced that the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the last four years, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, the former Custos of the Holy Land had been named by the Pope as the Patriarch of Jerusalem for the Latins. Accordingly, His Beatitude’s armorial bearings were updated to include another row of green tassels for a total of thirty tassels suspended from the galero. This rendering, as also the original rendering, was done by Marco Foppoli.

Archbishop Rozanski of St. Louis

On August 25th the Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski (62), a Baltimore priest who most recently served as Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, will be installed as the 11th Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri.As mentioned earlier in the blog his coat of arms will be:

The explanation from the archdiocesan website is as follows: The armorial bearings of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (left side) is a blue field with a gold crusader’s cross, and a crown representing Saint Louis IX, King of France, and patron of both the Archdiocese of St. Louis and City of St. Louis. On the extremes of the cross are found the fleur-de-lis flower that recalls the French foundation of the city.

For his personal arms, His Excellency Archbishop Rozanski has selected a design that is based on two major themes; his Polish heritage and his service to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.   In the upper portion of the design, in red and silver (white), the colors of the Polish national flag, are a cross bottony (each arm terminates in a triple ball), which represented in red on silver, is a variant on the symbolism known as a “cross of St. Michael,” the Archbishop’s baptismal patron. To the right of the cross is a silver rose on a red field, drawing upon the significance that His Excellency’s family name refers to “Rose flower” in Polish.

In base, on the alternating vertical bars of black and gold (yellow) with a red diagonal bar called a “bend,” is an open book of the Most Holy Scriptures. These charges, drawn from the arms of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, signify that His Excellency’s ministry as a deacon, priest, and now as an archbishop is to spread God’s Holy Word to the faithful of the Archdiocese. This symbolism joins well with the Archbishop’s motto, that is taken from the 100th Psalm, that in all that Archbishop Rozanski is to do for The Lord, he is called to “SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS.”

I think it makes for a handsome combination. Ad Multos Annos!

Rozanski to St. Louis

Today Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski (61), since 2014 the Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, and prior to that a priest and Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, Maryland, as the 11th Bishop and 10th Archbishop of St. Louis, Missori.

The coat of arms which he assumed on becoming a bishop in 2004 which reflect his Maryland roots will impale nicely with those of the venerable See of St. Louis.

Ad multos annos!

Archbishop of Atlanta

The Most Rev. Gregory Hartmayer, OFM.Conv., (68) Bishop of Savannah, Georgia since 2011, was installed as the 8th Archbishop of Atlanta on May 6. The arms he assumed when he became Bishop of Savannah he has retained and impaled with those of the See of Atlanta.

OK. This isn’t a bad coat of arms. It also isn’t the very best I’ve ever seen. I have no comment on the arms of the See of Atlanta. The archbishop’s personal arms employ a very complex field and then sort of ruin that effect by pasting several charges onto it. I have no issue with the idea of a dividing line of a color other than black between two impaled coats of arms but for reasons passing understanding this seems to be more than just an artistic decision because it is included in the blazon.

I do have a problem with the fact that there are two different shades of blue used in the same achievement but both are blazoned simply as “Azure”. The archiepiscopal cross (which is quite wrongly described as a “processional” cross…which it is not) with the roundel containing silhouette of the San Damiano cross (a particularly Franciscan symbol) is heraldically unsupportable. I have written on this blog numerous times that the external ornaments should not be personalized by unique additions. Finally, while it has certainly become something that is done frequently I do not approve of the inclusion of the pallium in the achievement of a metropolitan archbishop. I agree with Bruno Heim’s assessment that the pallium as a heraldic charge is best depicted on the shield and not included as as external ornament.

Many will say, “Oh! But as an archbishop he’s entitled to it!” Well, first of all the extra row of tassels on the galero and the two horizontal bars on the archiepiscopal cross clearly indicate the armiger is an archbishop. Second, to those who raise the objection that those are also ornaments used by archbishops who are not also metropolitans and the pallium is the only symbol of being a metropolitan, I say, “Tough”. That’s not a good enough reason to destroy the aesthetics of a good heraldic achievement by trying to stuff yet another ornament into it. There are other external ornaments used by bishops no longer included in their coats of arms, like mitres and croziers. The coat of arms does not have to include every single thing a prelate is entitled to wear or use.

As I have said, this is a debatable point and many favor the use of the pallium in the achievement of a metropolitan archbishop. I do not. Neither did Heim. I trust his opinion more than the opinions of 100 other people. So, I think the inclusion of the pallium here detracts from the rest of the coat of arms especially as, placed where it is, it looks more like an afterthought.

The archbishop’s arms were first prepared when he became a bishop by an old friend and former student of his. The same person worked on this project for his arms as Archbishop of Atlanta.

The blazon is: “Impaled fimbriated gules, (????) at dexter (for Atlanta), Bary wavy of seven Argent and Azure; at the centre point overall an open crown Or and at the honour point a rose of the first with a center of the last, and at sinister (for Archbishop Hartmayer), per pale argent and azure a chief wavy of one crest depressed in the center of one point and issuant in base throughout a pile reversed enarched all counterchanged, overall an eagle or and in chief at dexter a triquetra interlaced with circle of the last and at sinister a tau cross sable.

The explanation (from the archdiocesan website) is: “The personal Coat of Arms of Bishop Hartmayer is intended to symbolically represent the Bishop’s heritage and vocation as a Conventual Franciscan Friar. The background of wavy blue and white is a heraldic symbol for water. The Bishop is a native of Buffalo, NY – the Queen City of the Great Lakes. Water is also the key symbol of Baptism – the first Sacrament of Initiation as a Christian. This helps recall the Bishop’s ministry as the primary sacramental minister of his diocese. The eagle serves as a two-fold symbol of both the Bishop’s German heritage and of St. John the Evangelist. The Bishop’s father was named John and this is the Bishop’s middle name. The Celtic Knot, known as a Triquetra, represents the Bishop’s Irish heritage on his maternal side. And finally, the Tau is a reference to Bishop Hartmayer’s vocation as a Conventual Franciscan Friar. St. Francis would sign his writing with a Tau, often painted it on the walls and doors of places and he stayed, and would remind his friars that their habit was in the shape of a Tau cross illustrating to them that they must go into the world wearing this cross like an incarnation of Christ.

UPDATE on the coat of arms of Archbishop Perez

Archbishop elect Nelson Perez will be installed as the 16th Archbishop of Philadelphia on February 18. His coat of arms will appear as below. He has not really changed his arms but rather has decided to have the star in chief on his personal arms depicted differently that the five pointed star in the arms of the archdiocese. Originally, he had a five pointed star, borrowed from the arms of the See of Philadelphia, to commemorate his time as a priest there. Now that he will be serving as the archbishop there, the need for that is lessened. So, his arms remain the same with a slight tweak in the style of the star in chief.

Nelson J. Perez from Cleveland to Philadelphia

This morning the Holy See announced that the Pope has appointed 58-year-old Bishop Nelson J. Perez as the 10th Archbishop of Philadelphia succeeding Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, Cap. who has served as the 9th Archbishop since 2011 and who turned 75 last September. The Archbishop-elect was born in Cuba, emigrated with his family to Miami when he was a child and was raised in Northern New Jersey.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989. In 2012 Pope Benedict appointed him as Titular Bishop of Catrum and Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York. Pope Francis translated him to the Diocese of Cleveland in July, 2017.

His personal arms were assumed at the time he was ordained a bishop on Long Island. The reflect his Cuban heritage (the sun), his home diocese of Philadelphia (the star) and his vision of priestly and episcopal ministry (the lamb).

Philadelphia hasn’t had a priest of their own diocese serve as archbishop there since Archbishop Prendergast (1911-1918) so this is a momentous appointment for the archdiocese to have, if not a native son, a priest from their own presbyterate as their new shepherd. That’s relatively rare in the U.S. these days. I grew up in the Diocese of Rockville Centre and I still have many friends and some family there. I know the people there appreciated Archbishop-elect Nelson’s personality, style and his ministry with them.

Ad Multos Annos!