Marian Cross

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John Paul II Coat of arms

The Marian Cross is an informal name applied[citation needed] to a design in the personal coat of arms of Pope John Paul II. The design consists of a Latin cross with the crossbar extended on the viewer's right (heraldic) sinister), together with a letter "M" (for the Virgin Mary) under the extended arm of the cross.

A combination of the letter M with a normal Latin cross and other symbols is found also as part of the 1830 design of the Miraculous Medal, revealed to Saint Catherine Labouré in a Marian apparition. In that design the letter M is surmounted by a normal Latin cross standing on a bar (which may represent the earth) interlaced with the letter M.[1][2]

As in that design, the letter M combined with a cross in the coat of arms of Pope John Paul II represents the Virgin Mary standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus during his crucifixion.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, stated in 1978:[3]

The coat of arms for Pope John Paul II is intended to be a homage to the central mystery of Christianity, that of Redemption. It mainly represents a cross, whose form however does not correspond to any of the usual heraldry models. The reason for the unusual shift of the vertical part of the cross is striking, if one considers the second object included in the Coat of Arms: the large and majestic capital M, which recalls the presence of the Madonna under the Cross and Her exceptional participation in Redemption. The Pontiff’s intense devotion to the Holy Virgin is manifested in this manner.

Pope John Paul II's coat of arms was thus based on his strong Marian devotion. [4]

He himself wrote:[5]

He also singled out de Montfort's work in his encyclical entitled Redemptoris Mater[6] as a key example of Marian devotion. And in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae he wrote:[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Association of the Miraculous Medal [1]
  2. ^ Catholic encyclopedia [2]
  3. ^ L'Osservatore Romano, 09.11.1978
  4. ^ Holy See Press Office Coat of Arms of His Holiness John Paul II, Updated: 03-15-2006
  5. ^ Letter of Pope John Paul II to the religious of the Mortfortian congregations
  6. ^ Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater (English)
  7. ^ Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (English)

External links[edit]