Diocese of Hradec Králové

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DIOCESE OF HRADEC KRÁLOVÉ (Dioecesis Riginae Gradecensis)

Country : Czech Republic
Denomination : Roman Catholic

Established : 1664

Arms (crest) of Diocese of Hradec Králové

Official blazon

Červeno-zlatě dělený štít obsahuje v horní části stříbrnou vznášející se holubici se zlatou svatozáří hledící vpřed, v dolní červené písmeno M, štít převýšený mitrou.


The Hradec Králové diocese was founded in 1664 but only gained arms in the 20th century. However, the dove has played a role in the diocesan symbolism for a century before this, first appearing in the personal arms of Bishop Karel Hanl in the 19th century. After 1903 it becomes a permanent symbol present in the arms of the local bishops. The arms of the bishopric first appear in 1960 unofficially in documents. They show a descending silver dove surrounded by seven golden flames in a red shield. Behind the shield a mitre on the right and a bishop's staff on the left under a green bishop's galero.

The diocese officially began using arms designed by Zdenko G. Alexy in 1976. The arms were blazoned "Černo-zlatě dělený štít s kotvou převýšenou pěti osmihrotými hvězdami, figury ve střídavých tinkturách, štít podložen latinským křížem." The new arms were a reference to the main patron of the diocese, st. Clementm, via the anchor, and the secondary saint, st. John of Nepomuk, via the five stars. The gold and black shield is a direct reference to the arms of the Archdiocese of Prague from which the Diocese of Hradec Králové was originally separated.

The ascendance of Bishop Karel Otčenášek in 1989 meant the return of the original descending dove arms, without the galero. In 1991 the arms underwent further modification, to be blazoned as v červeném štítě zlatě zářící slétající stříbrná holubice" which translates to "gules, a descending dove argent, irradiated Or." The arms were displayed either as the shield alone or with a latin cross on the right, a bishop's staff on the left and a mitre in the middle.

In 2014 the diocese celebrated its 350th anniversary and underwent a redesign of the arms. The Diocese of Hradec Králové was newly dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, a response to the same dedication of the entirety of mankind carried out by Pope Francis a year later. This was accompanied by a new coat of arms for the diocese. Designed by Italian Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, the arms are a shield divided per fess gules and Or. In the upper field is a hovering dove with a halo in, below a gules letter M. The shield is topped with a mitre. The arms are unusual among Czech heraldry and are derived from Italian tradition. The dove is a continuation of the historical symbolism of the diocese while the M refers to the Virgin Mary.

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Literature : Images and info from Michal Sklenář & Tomáš Urban: Církevní heraldika královehradecké diecéze.