Friday, July 3, 2009

Ecclesiastical heraldry

Maybe it already showed by the previous posts on the various emblems and seals, heraldry and its ability to create a concise picture for the entity in one simple image is quite fascinating to me. At least in English literature, the Thai heraldry is virtually non-covered to my knowledge. However it's not only the civil administrative entities which have such emblems, the Roman Catholic church it has its ecclesiastic heraldry, for example every bishop has his own coat of arms.

I only became aware of this through random working on Wikipedia, when I discovered that the Polish wikipedian Piotr Michał Jaworski has created several bishopric coat of arms, as well as great boilerplates for the various different levels in the Catholic ecclesiastic hierarchy. Though I am really not an artist in creating drawings with Inkscape, I have now created one such coat of arms for a Thai bishop based on that boilerplate to present it here.

For several reasons I chose the archbishop-elect Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanit (ฟรังซิสเซเวียร์ เกรียงศักดิ์ โกวิทวาณิช), who will be ordained as new Archbishop of Bangkok on August 16. Due to his promotion, he will get a new coat of arms, so the one he used while he was bishop of Nakhon Sawan will no longer be present in public, so I kind of tried to preserve it. Also, the symbols on the shield are quite easy, so it was not difficult to draw even for me, and a high resolution image on the website of the archdiocese helped even more. Finally and funnily, he is a cousin of my Thai teacher here in Germany, something she mentioned when he was chosen as bishop of Nakhon Sawan. It's my personal proof of the Six degrees of separation, I am only 4 steps away from the Pope.

I could not find the full description of the symbols anymore - I remember I saw it once on the website of the diocese of Nakhon Sawan - but I can remember that the stars in the around the central disc symbolize the 13 civil provinces under the diocese. One reason why he cannot use the same symbolism in his new coat of arms as archbishop, because the archdiocese covers one 8 provinces and another two partially. Except the slogan below, everything outside the central shield is the same for all bishops, and varies with the different levels in hierarchy. I have uploaded the SVG-Version into my coding project, but should also upload it to Wikipedia.

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