Eparchial coat of arms

The design of the Eparchial arms follows the tradition of heraldic arms as used by eparchies of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, namely a shield mounted with an episcopal mitre, staff and processional cross. The shield is augmented by an episcopal “Panagia”.

The shield, which contains the arms proper, is divided into three parts. Right, Left and Lower Centre.

The right of the arms depicts the doubled Cross of St. George, as on the Arms of the City of Melbourne. The St George Cross has a long history dating back to the Middle Ages and the crusades where it was used to symbolise knights taking up the cross of Christ. It is used throughout Europe on flags and in heraldry, and it forms a part of the Union Jack Flag as depicted on the Flags of Australia and New Zealand. Its use on the Eparchial arms is a link to the City of Melbourne as the place of the Cathedral and as a reminder that we are all called to “take up our cross.”

The left depicts the “Commonwealth Star” also known as the “Federation Star” on a Blue Sky above the waters of the Ocean. The Commonwealth Star forms a part of the Coat of Arms of Australia having seven points representing the six states of Australia and one point for the territories. Stars are also used on the flag of New Zealand as well as many flags of the nations of Oceania. The blue sky and sea represent the vastness of the Eparchy covering much of the Pacific Ocean — “Oceania” and the waters surrounding Australia as an Island Continent.

The Star above the Sea is also a reference to the Mother of God as “Star of the Sea”. This is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title “Stella Maris”. It came to be seen as allegorical of Mary’s role as a “guiding star” on the way to Christ.

The bottom centre contains the Key of St Peter and the Sword of St Paul, the patron saints of the Eparchy.

Jesus promised the keys to heaven to Saint Peter, empowering him to take binding actions. In the Gospel of Matthew 16:19, Jesus says to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The keys of Saint Peter are seen as a symbol of papal authority and are seen on Papal Coat of Arms.

St. Paul is frequently depicted with a sword for two primary reasons. The first reason is because St. Paul is well-known for his epistle to the Ephesians, where he famously describes the “armour of God.” He uses the armour that was commonly worn by a Roman Soldier to describe a spiritual armour that prepares a Christian to “stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11–12). A few verses later St. Paul writes, “And take the… sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The second reason why St. Paul often carries a sword is because of a long-standing tradition of depicting martyr saints with the instrument of their death. As St. Paul was a Roman citizen, he was not eligible to be crucified. Instead, St. Paul was decapitated with a sword outside of the walls of Rome.

The Key and Sword are depicted in gold on a background of green the national colours of Australia.

History Bishop Pilgrimage Place