Archdiocese of Westminster

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ARCHDIOCESE OF WESTMINSTER (Archidioecesis Vestmonasteriensis)

Country : United Kingdom
Denomination : Roman Catholic

Established : 1850

Arms of Archdiocese of Westminster

Arms according to the grant from 1894
Arms of Archdiocese of Westminster

Current use (since 2000) without cross

Official blazon

  • (1894) Gules, an ancient archbishop's cross in pale Or, over all a pallium Proper.

Origin/meaning

The Archdiocese was created in the 19th century and thus could not make use of any historical arms. Shortly before 1894 Cardinal Vaughan consulted Charles Alban Buckler, Surrey Herald Extraordinary, about the design of a coat of arms for the Archdiocese of Westminster. He advised the adoption of a differenced version of the ancient arms of the Archdiocese of Canterbury. The Cardinal then applied to the Holy See, through the Sacred Congregation for Propagating the Faith, which was at that time responsible for the affairs of the Church in England, for a grant of the proposed arms. Pope Leo XIII consented to this and in 1894 the arms were granted.

The blue colour of Canterbury was changed to red to honour the English martyrs. The original Canterbury arms showed a small cross above the pallium. This cross was a simple cross and it was assumed that this cross was also used in the new arms for Westminster. However, in the meantime the cross used for an archbishop was changed to a double-barred cross. In the early 20th century there was thus a discussion whether the old Canterbury single cross, or the new archepiscopal cross was to be used. The decree did mention in Latin "cruce archiepiscopal de auro", so a double barred cross. Nevertheless, all archbishops until 2000 used a single cross.

Since 2000 the cross is omitted from the arms.

Arms of Archbishops

Arms of Auxiliary bishops

Literature:


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