Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Episcopal Corner

The Episcopal Church Shield 

 

     The Episcopal shield and the corresponding flag were officially adopted by General Convention in 1940.  The shield is usually presented in red, white, and blue.  The red cross on a 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 descent from the Church of England.  The blue field in the upper left is 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 cross-crosslets that stand for the representatives of the Church in the nine states (Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware) who met in Philadelphia in 1789 to adopt the constitution of the Episcopal Church.  The Episcopal Handbook