Sunday, July 12, 2015

Coat of Arms of Bishop Edward C. Malesic, J.C.L.

     In accordance with the heraldic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the coat of arms of a bishop is normally composed of the following elements:
  1. a SHIELD with its charges (symbols) coming from family, geographic, religious and historical meanings and/or referred to the name of the bishop;
  2. a GOLDEN PROCESSIONAL CROSS, with one traversal (cross) bar, to represent the rank of the bishop, "impaled" (placed) vertically behind the shield;
  3. a GREEN HAT called a galero with 12 attached tassels (six on either side), ordered 1,2, and 3 from the top;
  4. a SCROLL (banderole) with the motto, written in black, below the shield.
     The coat of arms of Bishop Malesic employs a GOTHIC shaped shield, frequently used in Roman Catholic heraldry, and a BOTONNY processional cross with FIVE RED STONES to represent the five wounds of Christ.

     For his episcopal MOTTO, Bishop Malesic has chosen a verse from Psalm 100, verse 2, a psalm of thanksgiving that invites all nations to praise God.

"Serve the Lord with Gladness"
     From the point of view of the observer, the left side of the shield represents the COAT OF ARMS OF THE DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG.
     The GREEN SURFACE of the arms is charged with a "fess" or band across the center, the upper side crenellated gold (yellow), commemorating the Revolutionary War general, Nathaniel Greene (1742-1786) for whom the city was named.  The crenellated "fess" recalls the German word for "burg", meaning a fortified place, or walled city, and thus represents the See of Greensburg.
     The crenellated "fess" is charged with a BLUE, FIVE POINTED STAR from the arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and commemorates Bishop Hugh L. Lamb, who was an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia prior to being appointed the first Bishop of Greensburg.  On either side of the star are two DOUBLE TRAVERSED CROSSES, tinctured (colored) red, derived from the arms of the Benedictines, whose members have labored for more than a century and half in what is now the Diocese of Greensburg.
     In the "chief" or upper portion of the shield are two YELLOW (gold) CROSSES.  The two sides of each limb are concave and the extremity convex, commemorating that portion of the Diocese of Pittsburgh that in 1951 became the Diocese of Greensburg.
     The base of the shield is charged with a GOLD (yellow) CHRISTOGRAM (Chi Rho) symbolizing the Holy Eucharist, the dedicatory title of the cathedral of the Diocese of Greensburg.  The first two letters of the Greek words for Christ (XP) are combined to form the Christogram.  It may be read as the Latin word for "Pax" (peace), a further allusion to the Benedictines' years of labor in the Diocese of Greensburg.
     Looking at the shield from the point of view of an observer, the RIGHT SIDE is occupied by the PERSONAL ARMS OF BISHOP MALESIC.
     This part of the shield is embossed in BLUE (azure), the color of the sky, which symbolizes the direction of the soul's ascent toward God and away from worldly values, therefore, the color represents the path set by the spiritual virtues, raising a person from the things of the earth toward the incorruptibility of heaven.
     The CHEVRON is a heraldic device best described as an inverted "V" and is one of the most ancient figures in heraldry.  Frequently, in Roman Catholic Church heraldry, it signifies the rafter which supports the roof of the church as a source of protection for the community of faith gathered under it.  The THREE SHAMROCKS represent the Cathedral in Harrisburg, dedicated to St. Patrick, where Bishop Malesic was ordained to the priesthood by the imposition of the hands of Cardinal William H. Keeler, at that time Bishop of Harrisburg.  The CHEVRON is in SILVER (argent), the color of transparency, also of truth and justice, fundamental requirements of the Bishop's pastoral service.
     The CROWN above the chevron is the symbol of Bishop Malesic's given name, after St. Edward "The Confessor" (d.1066), King of England who gave witness to his Catholic faith through his life.  The crown also recalls Mary, Queen of the Apostles, upon whose intercession Bishop Malesic relies.
     The LINDEN TREE below the chevron expresses the Slovenian heritage of Bishop Malesic's father.  The linden tree is considered the national tree of Slovenia and is also a symbol of joy and safety.  The community often gathered under the shade of the linden tree for fellowship and community discussions.
The arms of the Diocese of Greensburg were devised at the time of its establishment in 1951
by William F. J. Ryan (1903-1981) of New York, N.Y., and West Chatham, Mass.
The personal arms of Bishop Malesic were devised by Renato Poletti of Rome, Italy,
in consultation with Bishop Malesic after his episcopal appointment on April 24, 2015. 
The impalement of the arms of the Diocese of Greensburg
with the personal arms of Bishop Malesic was undertaken by Mr. Poletti.

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