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Trivia Episcopalians Should Know

Brief Explanation of the Episcopal Shield

The Episcopal Church shield is generally accompanied by the words, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." On signs it often includes information about a local church's location and/or worship schedule.

The shield and the corresponding flag were officially adopted by General Convention in 1940. Both are rich in symbolism. The shield is usually presented in red, white , and blue.

The red cross on the white field is an ancient Christian symbol, white representing the purity of Jesus and red representing his sacrifice on the cross and the blood of Christian martyrs. The red cross is known as the cross of St. George, patron saint of England, and indicates the Episcopal Church's decent from the Church of England.

The blue field in the upper left id the color traditionally associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and is symbolic of Jesus' human nature, which he received from his mother. The X-shaped cross is the cross of St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, and recalls the Episcopal Church's indebtedness to Scottish bishops for the consecration of the first American bishop, Samuel Seabury, in 1784.

The St. Andrew's cross is made up of nine smaller crosses that stand for the representatives of the Church in the nine states who met in Philadelphia (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia) in 1789 to adopt the constitution of the Episcopal Church.

Adapted from The Episcopal Handbook: Revised Edition



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