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Canada - Ecclestiastic Flags and Arms

Last modified: 2002-11-02 by phil nelson
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General Synod of the Anglican Church

Pursuing the question posed by Simon Kershaw last month, I attended a ceremony this evening at Carleton University here in Ottawa and observed the Governor General complete the formalities to register the Coat of Arms granted to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, and to grant a flag and badge. This was part of the Primate's service opening the General Synod (the annual meeting of the corporate body governing the Anglican Church in Canada).

Thanks to Auguste Vachon, St Laurent Herald of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, I have the full text of the letters patent before me and will post a summary of the key paragraphs. (The text is available in both French and English, as with all government documents in this country.)

TO all whom these Presents shall come ... Greeting: by Robert Douglas Watt, Chief Herald of Canada:

Whereas the Most Reverend Michael Geoffrey Peers, Archbishop, Primate and President of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, has represented to the Chief Herald of Canada, that a body under the name of the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada was constituted and organized ... in 1893, and that the aforesaid General Synod was further incorporated ... 1921, ...

And Whereas the Most Reverend Michael Geoffrey Peers has further represented to the Chief Herald of Canada that Garter King of Arms and his fellow Kings of Arms did by Letters Patent dated the 29th day of December 1938 grant Armorial Bearings to be borne and used by the General Synod, and that it is the desire of the ... General Synod that these Armorial Bearings should be registered by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, and that a flag and badge be also granted to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in permanent commemoration of the centenary of its foundation;

And Whereas a warrant dated the 14th day of February 1994 has been issued by ... James Cyrille Gervais, ... Deputy Herald Chancellor of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, authorizing the Chief Herald to register these arms and to grant such flag and badge as he deems fitting and appropriate to be borne and used by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada;

Now Know You that pursuant to the authority vested in His Excellency the Right Honourable Romeo Adrien LeBlanc, ... Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, to excercise the armorial prerogative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada, by Letters Patent dated the 4th day of June 1988, and the terms of my Commission of Office, I Robert Douglas Watt, Chief Herald of Canada, do by these presents register in the name of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada the following Arms:

Argent on a cross Gules between four maple leaves Vert an open book Argent garnished and clasped Or, inscribed Nisi Dominus, in letters Sable and ensigned with a mitre Or;

and for a Flag:

Argent, a cross Gules between four maple leaves Vert;
and for a Badge:

A plate surmounted of a cross Gules anglee' of four maple leaves Vert;
As the same are more plainly here depicted and entered in Volume III, page 16 of the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, to be borne and used for ever herafter by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada on seals, shields or otherwise according to the Law of Arms of Canada;

Given under my hand and the seal of the Canadian Heraldic Authority at Rideau Hall in the City of Ottawa this twenty-fourth day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety five, in the first year of His Excellency's Service in office and in the fourty-fourth year of Her Majesty's Reign. In testimony whereof Judith Anne LaRocque, Herald Chancellor, and Lieutenant-General James Cyrille Gervais, Deputy Herald Chancellor, have witnessed this action with their signatures.

On the letters patent (engrossed by Fraser Herald, I believe, as she is the artist at the CHA), the English text appears on the left, the French on the right, flanking the depictions of the Coat of Arms, Flag and Badge, which appear in a central column, in that order from top to bottom.

The seal of the Authority is set in the centre, below the designs; it appears in blind (that is, embossed in the vellum).

The letters patent will be placed in the Archives of the General Synod, which are located at Church House, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto.

Other details of possible interest to you all:

The Primate wore vestments of natural-linen, embroidered in gold. The Governor General wore a black suit. The Chief Herald wore a black suit and red tie. (We talked at the reception after the ceremony, but I was growing tired after a very hot day -- over 30 centigrade -- so did not take note of chalk stripes, tie patterns and all that fashion detail. Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!)

Much to my disappointment, no flag has yet been crafted, so no ceremony of consecration was held. My vexillogical interests must be contained in patience for some time to come.

Terry Manuel, a past-president of the Heraldry Society of Canada, attended today's ceremony and provided what sports fans would call "color commentary" for the television cameras. (Nota Bene for Simon Kershaw: the whole ceremony was videotaped. Terry Thompson, the Archivist of the General Synod, informed me that the tapes will be preserved in her bailliwick. The tapes of past annual meetings are made available for a wide range of educational purposes. The main question is compatibility of UK and North American videotapes; I'll seek enlightenment on that question for you.)

Some notes about the Arms were printed on the Order of Service for this evening's ceremonies. I will quote the handy potted history in full.

"Closely based on the design by Edward Marion Chadwick, proposed in 1910 and finally ratified in 1918. To the flag of the Church of England, he added two "differences" - four green maple leaves for Canada and the open Bible with Bishop Inglis' motto (Psalm 127:1). When the Primatial Cross was produced for the Inglis sesquicentenary, August 1937, the original grant was obtained, adding a specifically episcopal symbol."

For those of you not well versed in Canadian ecclesiastical history, I will note that Inglis was the first Anglican Bishop in the diocese of Nova Scotia, which included territory now the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, as well as Bermuda. His son was third bishop of Nova Scotia. This late in the evening, I cannot remember which was Charles and which was John Nova Scotia.
Patricia Kennedy - 4 June 1999

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim

[Congregation Shaar Hashomayim]
source Canadian Armorial

Arms and flag granted 25 September, 1995.

The name means : Gate to Heaven
Dov Gutterman

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