A Description and Explanation of the Coat-of-Arms of the North American
Old Roman Catholic Church
The shield is the basic shape upon which the coat-of-arms is displayed. It is used as a symbol to show that we as Christians are soldiers engaged in a battle with the world, sin, and the devil.
“Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high. Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect.”
- Ephesians 6: 11-13
The principle charge on the shield is a cross which indicates that it is under the banner of the Cross of Jesus Christ that we wage this Holy War. We are soldiers of Jesus Christ by our reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our shield is the Shield of Faith. The cross reaches to the edges of the shield to indicate that our Divine Commission is to make disciples of all nations; that we are to make known the glories of the Lord and to bring His message of salvation to the four corners of the earth.
“… in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.”
- Ephesians 6: 16
“Conduct thyself in work as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as God’s soldier entangles himself in worldly affairs, that he may please Him whose approval he has secured.”
- 2 Timothy 2: 3-4
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
- St Matthew 28: 19
“And the Gospel must first be preached to all nations.”
- St Mark 13: 10
“ And He will send forth His Angels with a trumpet and a great sound, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
- St Matthew 24: 31
“And they will come from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South, and will feast in the Kingdom of God.”
- St Luke 13: 29
The Cross divides the shield into four quarters or quadrants. These four quarters represent the four Holy Gospels upon which our Catholic Faith is based.
“...Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
- St Mark 1: 14-15
“ The Rule and Life of the (Friars Minor, Poor Clares, Brothers and Sisters of Penance) is this: to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ…”
-The Rule of the Friars Minor (The First Order)
-The Rule of the Poor Clares (The Second Order)
-The Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance (The Third Order)
The Shield is quartered in two colors Silver (white) and Gold. In the Old Testament, God commanded Moses to build a Sanctuary for Him, and among the contributions to be collected from the people were silver and gold. Asa the third King of Judah, as had King David before him, vowed to provide the House of God with things of silver and gold and fine vessels. These were the gifts they brought to the Temple. The colors of Silver and Gold are also taken from the official colors of the Roman Catholic Church, from whom we are descended and with whom in Faith and Practice, though not in government, we are united. It proclaims our “Old Roman Catholic” identity.
“This is what the Lord then said to Moses: ‘Tell the Israelites to take up a collection for Me. From every man you shall accept the contribution that his heart prompts him to give Me. These are the contributions you shall accept from them: gold, silver and bronze…”
- Exodus 25: 1-3
“And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated and he had vowed unto the House of the Lord, silver and gold and vessels.
- 3 Kings (1 Kings) 15: 15
“And I said unto them: You are the holy ones of the Lord, and the vessels are holy, and the silver and gold, that is freely offered to the Lord the God of our fathers.”
- 1Esdras (Ezra) 8:28
The cross is tinctured blue to represent our dedication to the Immaculate Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. It is through her cooperation with God’s plan for man’s salvation, that the Savior of the World was born and thus enabled to take on our human flesh and nature.
“And the angel said to her, ‘ Do not be afraid, Mary for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High.’ “
- St Luke 1: 30-32
“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.’ “
- St Luke 1: 35
“But Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word’.”
- St Luke 1: 38
In each of the quadrants of the shield appears a cross known as the Cross Potent. This form of the cross is formed by the joining of four “T” shaped crosses. This “T” shape is known as the Tau, which is a letter of the Greek alphabet, and when spelled Thau, is also the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. “The Tau has its origins in biblical antiquity. St Francis’ own devotion came out of a sermon preached by Pope Innocent III on St Martin’s Day inaugurating the Fourth Lateran Council, where the Pope linked the Last Supper text with that of Ezekiel, likening himself to the young man dressed only in linen to whom the Lord said, ‘Go through all the city… and mark the Tau on the foreheads of all.”
Pope Innocent saw the Tau as a form of the cross of Christ, so that anyone who wore this sign appropriated the power of the cross and witnessed to it by word and deed. St Francis was present at the sermon and took the sign of the Tau to Assisi, ‘signing it on all his letters and even painting it on the walls of his cell,’ according to the early Franciscan biographer, Thomas of Celano. Thus it has special significance for Franciscans, because St Francis adopted it as his personal seal and encouraged his companions to do the same.”
Br Tristam Holland, SSF: Joy In All Things
The Tau has also been linked to the staff or pole used by Moses to mount the bronze saraph or serpent upon, which the Lord commanded him to make.
“ And the glory of the Lord of Israel went up from the cherub, upon which he was, to the threshold of the house, and he called to the man that was clothed with linen, and had a writer’s inkhorn at his loins. And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem: and mark Thau upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and mourn for all the abominations that are committed in the midst thereof.”
- Ezekiel 9: 3-4
“ So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover. Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.
- Numbers 21:7-9
The crosses potent are tinctured red to indicate that we are expected to shed our blood, sweat and tears in labor for the spread and propagation of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world.
“ They will expel you from the synagogues. Yes, the hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering worship to God.”
- St John 16: 2
“ ...because they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, blood also Thou hast given them to drink;…”
- Apocalypse (Revelation) 16: 6
“ And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered with a great wonder.”
- Apocalypse (Revelation) 17: 6
The crosses are placed in the very center of each quarter to indicate that the focus of each Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ, and that it is He alone, Whom we preach and teach.
“...I have done for your sakes, in the person of Christ, that we may not be defeated by Satan; for we are not unaware of his devices. Now when I came to Troas, to preach the Gospel of Christ… But thanks be to God Who always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus, manifesting through us the odor of His knowledge in every place.
- 2 Corinthians 2: 10-14
Unlike the large blue cross, the four smaller red crosses potent, do not reach the edges of their quarters, for by this placement they proclaim that while each Gospel is the True and Authentic Word of God, none of them, by themselves, are a complete account of the Life and Teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has always proclaimed that the Faith is based upon both Scripture and Sacred Tradition. In fact we have always considered the Sacred Scriptures to be our Written Tradition, and the first and primary basis of the Faith, supplemented by the Oral Tradition that has been handed down to us by the Fathers of the Church since the earliest days of Christianity. The crosses do not reach the edges to also indicate that our job is as yet incomplete.
“This is the disciple who bears witness concerning these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his witness is true. There are, however, many other things that Jesus did; but if every one of these should be written, not even the whole world itself, I think, could hold the books that would have to be written. Amen.”
- St John 21: 24-25
“ And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a witness to all nations; and then will come the end.”
- St Matthew 24: 14
The overall figure of the blue cross and the four red crosses potent is a stylized figure of the Jerusalem Cross. This cross was used during the Crusades to free the Holy Lands from the Muslim occupiers. It was worn by Godfrey de Bouillon, the first ruler of Jerusalem in 1099. It is a symbolic representation of the birthplace of our Christian and Catholic Faith, established in the year AD 33 on that first Pentecost Sunday.
The symbolism of the cross is sometimes given as: the five crosses represent the five Sacred Wounds of Christ; or, Jesus and the four Evangelists who wrote the Gospels; or, the five nations who fought for the Christian Faith during the Crusades: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
“ But I say to you not to swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor for Jerusalem, for it is the City of the Great King.”
- St Matthew 5: 34-35
“ And while eating with them, He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, ‘of which you have heard,’ said He, ‘by My Mouth;…”
- Acts 1: 4
“ And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak.”
- Acts 2: 1-4
The Motto of The North American Old Roman Catholic Church is:
In Hoc Signo.
The translation of the Motto is: By This Sign.
The only charge found anywhere in the coat-of-arms of The North American Old Roman Catholic Church, is the Cross. It is depicted in three different styles,
the large blue Greek Cross,
the four small red crosses potent, and
the combined blue and red crosses in the form of a Jerusalem Cross.
It is only in this Sign, that is, The Sign of the Cross, that we place our trust and belief. We begin and end all of our prayers with the Sign of the Cross; we mark the foreheads of all the Baptized with this Sacred Sign; we bless with this Sign, and we dedicate and consecrate with this Sacred Sign of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Like Constantine when he went into battle, and had he vision of the cross with the words: In Hoc Signo Vinces! (By This Sign You Will Conquer!) we too shall conquer the world for Christ, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. With St Paul, we will glory only in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The Motto is left incomplete to indicate that we in no wise limit the power of the Cross of Christ. Any verb would limit its power and meaning. Thus “By this sign...” we teach, preach, believe, hope, love, struggle, work, conquer...
“ And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me.”
- St Matthew 10: 38
“ If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
- St Matthew 16: 24
“ And he who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cnnot be My disciple.”
- St Luke 14: 27
“ But as for me, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”
- Galatians 6: 14
Other Symbolism in the Coat-of-Arms
The colors (tinctures) used represent the following:
Silver– things earthly; the purity of the Catholic Faith.
Gold– things heavenly; the preciousness of the Catholic Faith.
Red– the Blood of Christ, the blood of His Saints and Martyrs
Blue– strength, perseverance, friendship, and loyalty
The colors of Red, White (Silver) and Blue are also found in our National Colors.
The shield is quartered into two colors, silver and gold. These represent: the Human (silver) and the Divine (gold) Natures of the Godhead.
The cross as the only charge in the entire coat-of-arms, is depicted in three different styles, thus representing the three Persons in The Holy Trinity.
Thus our Coat-of-Arms represents our belief in the Blessed Trinity:
One God– the unified shield
Two Natures in the Godhead– the silver and gold
Three Persons– the three styles of the cross.
If one takes the first letter of each word in our motto, you will find the Sacred Monogram of Jesus according to the first three letters of the Name of Jesus in Greek IHS.
The motto is in Latin to indicate that we are a Church of the Latin Rite Tradition.