Has anyone see a chair used in church heraldry before?
Michael Swanson wrote:
Has anyone see a chair used in church heraldry before?
Yes, it if now often found in Canadian ecclesiastical heraldry.
Mike, that is beautiful.
Yes, my cathedral, The Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, has a carved coat of arms on the cathedra. I believe it is that of the first bishop of the (Arch)Diocese of Denver. I don’t have a picture though. But it sure is very nice.
It is maybe a bit off-topic, but isn’t it Washington’s arms influence that can be seen in the first canton ?
The carved coat of arms on your Cathedral’s cathedra would probably be those of your bishop. The above arms were granted as shown, and I am guessing this is Anglican?
Hi Fr. Archer. I would’ve thought so as well. But, when I was there a couple of years ago shortly after Archbishop Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. was installed as our new bishop when J. Francis Cardinal Stafford was elevated to the College of Cardinals and sent to Rome I took the "tour" and the coat of arms carved into the marble were not those of either Cardinal Stafford or Archbishop Chaput.
I should make a trip down there again and take the tour again and see if I can get a picture of it. It is a beautiful cathedral. Everything on or associated with the altar is Italian marble and is as old as the cathedral…very, very nice.
Also when I was discerning a vocation to the priesthood we would get together for the hours and mass at the Christ the King Chapel for the seminary and there was heraldic achievements carved into the tops of the stone pillars of that old school chapel as well.
Of course both the cathedral and the seminary chapel are very much ‘old school’ church buildings and I suppose that is why they have so much heraldry in them.
The point being, the above emblazonment is using the chair as a type of supporter or something. The chair would be a part of the blazon. The arms on the cathedra in your diocesan cathedral are just a coat of arms on a chair; like a coat of arms above a fire place, on a door, on your palace gate, etc. Our cathedral cathedra bears the arms of our current bishop.
In many cases, carved coats of arms remain in use long after the death or retirement of the bishop whose arms they are, while painted or embroidered emblazonments are replaced with each incumbent.
Yes, Fr. Archer, this is a cathedral of the Anglican Church of Canada.
In answer to Nicolas, I doubt that there’s a Washington influence in these arms, although there is a similarity in the format—the same is true of many arms of English origin. There is, however, a strong influence from the arms of Canterbury Cathedral, "Azure on a cross Argent the Greek letters iota and chi in pale Sable."
(The connection, other than the obvious Anglican one, is probably that both the Fredericton and Canterbury cathedrals are named "Christ Church;" I.X. stands for Jesus Christ in Greek.)
The shield at the top of the chair is that of the Diocese of Fredericton (New Brunswick).
Well Fr. Archer…...I thought that it was a heraldic representation of a real cathedra with a real coat of arms on it in a real cathedral and not merely a heraldic drawing…....hence my reference to my cathedrals instance of doing the same. I guess I shouldn’t assume anything, but that is what I did, as now I feel like a bit of a dork since I can see the difference.
No need to feel like a dork, Donnchadh. It’s okay.
Joe, many thanks for the light you brought.
i think the chair as a supporter in the arms of a cathedral (as opposed to the arms of a bishop or of a diocese) is a very clever innovation on the part of the Canadians. What better way to distinctly point out the arms of a cathedral church than use as an external ornament the very thing that makes the church a cathedral church…the cathedra?
As for arms shown on a cathedra there are some which are permanent and do not change. For example, in Washington, DC the cathedra of the Archbishop of Washington is located in St. Matthew’s cathedral. There the cathedra has the arms of the first Archbishop of Washington, Michael Curley, permanently set into the back in mosaic. What is really interesting is that it was done when Curley was Archbishop of the (then) combined diocese of Baltimore-Washington. So, the arms depicted on the cathedra of Washington show the arms of an archbishop impaled with the arms of…Baltimore, an entirely different see!
For history’s sake, however, they leave it as is.
An interesting variation on the examples cited of arms carved on or above the bishop’s chair, is in the RC Cathedral in San Francisco (St. ary’s IIRC). The church is in a very modern and elegant style. The (arch?)bishop’s chair or throne is on the raised platform (a sort of stare) & on the wall or screen behind it, the arms ars shown in cast bronze. There is a scarcely visible "split" between the (arch?)diocesan arms to dexter, & the current (arch?)bishop’s personal arms to the sinister. They are actually two separate pieces - the personal arms, and the rest of the achievement (including galero & tassles etc.). The personal arms can be removed and replaced when there is a change in bishops, without disturbing the rest of the achievement. Quite impressive for a Presbyterian from a small town!
From the online Public Register of Arms, flags and badges of Canada some more Cathedral arms with cathedra supporter:
St. Luke’s Cathedral, Sault Ste. Marie, ON. The winged Bull is the attribute of St. Luke.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Regina, SK.
The barry wavy with a pale counterchanged in the upper part of the arms of St. Luke’s is a neat way of representing the rapids of Sault Ste-Marie, and the celestial crown in those of St. Paul’s is a clever allusion to the meaning of the name Regina.
The winged bull for St. Luke’s and the swords for St. Paul’s are, of course, fine, but not especially original.