The one thing you need to know about Pope Francis’ coat of arms is that it is dedicated to the Holy Family: Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Mother, and Saint Joseph.
Here’s is a quick list of its symbolism.
- The IHS signifies the Holy Name of Jesus in Greek (IHSYS), and is an emblem of the Society of Jesus of which the Holy Father is a member.
- The three nails of the crucifixion are featured as a sign of Our Lord’s Passion.
[You may also want to read: Where did the 3 Nails of the Crucifixion Go?]
- The blue background of the shield signifies the blue protective mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- The 8-pointed star symbolizes Our Lady as the Star of Sea. The number 8 represents the “eighth day” one beyond seven. Christ rose on the “eighth day” (Sunday) and His Kingdom is beyond. This is why baptismal fonts are 8-sided.
- The golden spikenard flower represents Saint Joseph’s purity. Some have mistaken this image as a bunch of grapes, but it’s not. It’s a flower.
The shield rests on the keys of Saint Peter – the sign of the supreme and universal jurisdiction of the Pope. Traditionally, the gold key signifies ”binding in Heaven” and the silver key signifies “binding on earth.” (See Mt 16:18)
The papal motto “Miserando atque eligendo,” means “having mercy, he called him.” The phrase refers to a line in Saint Bede’s homily concerning the call of Saint Matthew the tax-collector: “Because Jesus saw him, having mercy, and chose him.” (See Mt 9:9-13)
Question: Do you like the new coat of arms of Pope Francis? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.
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