Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Ecclesiastical heraldry

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Ecclesiastical heraldry[edit]

Self-nomination. This article has been through a peer review with little comment. WP:GAC suggests that articles over 20kb be submitted here instead. This article is comprehensive (history and current practice), has contemporary inline citations, and is stable. Most of the images are from Commons; the Eastern coats of arms are the only two available in Category:Orthodox ecclesiastical heraldry. The topic is perhaps too specialized for the Main Page, but "featured articles, despite being featured, may be marked so as not to be showcased on the Main Page." Gimmetrow 04:56, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

A technical question: in printed works images are numbered and can be referenced by number. How should one image be referenced in the text of the same article? Must the caption or a description be repeated in the text to identify the image? Gimmetrow 19:55, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Weak Object. Lead could be longer, article itself a bit short. External links section looks weird with only one link. A See Also section would be useful. No references in 'Crosier' section. — Wackymacs 07:42, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
I've added refs to the Crosier section and two online sources to external links, and a See Also section. Thanks for the feedback! Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Question: the See Also list repeats links present in the article. WP:GTL says that is not ideal. I don't mind either way, but all the links are in the text. Gimmetrow 19:55, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Object. Decent article, but not fully comprehensive at the moment. Jeronimo 08:29, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
    • It is unclear why the article is divided in "Western tradition" and "Eastern tradition", especially since "Western" is 75% of the article and "Eastern" is rather short. It may make more sense to mix these (like Catholic and Anglican are mixed) making sections of the current subsection, adding one for mantles.
It seemed natural to divide it this way, but I see what you suggest and will give it a try. Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Rewritten along this idea. Gimmetrow 18:19, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
    • How/where/when were/are the coats of arms are used? The first picture's caption gives a good example of this, but more is needed.
At one point I had found a good image of a document seal but the image was large (>1Mb) and made the page very slow for me to load. Will try to find that one image again. Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Was unable to find this image again, but did add an image of Leo XI's arms. Gimmetrow 18:19, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Are there any notable differences between ecclesiastical heraldry (and its usage) and "normal" heraldry? If so, discuss, if not mention that.
That's almost exactly what this article is intended to be about: the devices that are associated primarily with church heraldry and not used much in "regular" heraldry. Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Rewrote lead to try to clarify this. Gimmetrow 18:19, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Catholic, Eastern and Anglican churches are mentioned, what about the other Christian churches (Protestant, Koptic)? Do they use heraldry, or if they don't, why not?
Yes, other churches use crests and coats of arms, but mainly use crosses and color/tincture symbolism to distinguish from corporate or non-ecclesiastical symbolism. Aside from the obvious (churches which don't use the mitre wouldn't use it for heraldry), literature about this is short and I'm not sure what could be said without OR. Eastern heraldry is relatively short for a similar reason - coats are often not much different than "regular" arms which use the mantle/shield form. Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Eg, compare a typical Eastern secular coat with this coat from the article. Gimmetrow 18:19, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
    • It needs to be a bit more accessible at a few places as not all (heraldic) terms are properly explained. For example, the term galero is mentioned in the lead but not explained until the section about galeros, and lozenge (Shield subsection) is not explained at all (except on the linked wiki page).
Tried to address. Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Are you sure all the pictures can be used? Some of them have a tag that seems to indicate otherwise, but I'm no expert on this. Jeronimo 08:29, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
No, I'm not sure, but I am mainly concerned about the Eastern ones, and as they are the only two available I think they qualify as fair use. Gimmetrow 11:52, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
No, they are fine. 2-3 'fair use' images per article is fine, as long as they have a fair use rationale. — Wackymacs 12:04, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Again thanks for the feedback! I've been trying to get feedback for a few weeks. Gimmetrow 18:19, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Great improvements, I withdraw my objection and support. One thing though: "In the Byzantine tradition colors have a mystical." in the "Tincture" section seems like it is missing some words. Jeronimo 09:45, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong Support a great article on a hard to find subject. Well worthy of FA status.--Forlornandshorn 03:29, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support--Dave Boven 15:01, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment References are in order: can you get JKelly (or someone who knows Fair Use) to check the images, and one of the copy editors to check the prose? Sandy 21:25, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment There is extensive German ecclestiastical heraldry, some of it Protestant; some of this is in Fox-Davies, but you may have access to a more direct source. Septentrionalis 20:41, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comments: A lot of work has been put into this article since I last read it fully. Well done to all involved (mainly Gimmetrow)! I have a number of comments, some about the prose, some about the content. I guess I could just make changes myself, but listing them here lets me explain my reasoning, and if Gimmetrow integrates them into the article it is less likely something else will get broken. Dr pda 16:14, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
"Mainly" is understatement. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Lead:
Within the coat of arms, the shield usually combines the bishop's attributes with those of his diocese - is there a better word than attributes? Perhaps 'personal arms'? I recognise the difficulty of trying to find a synonym when both coat of arms and shield are already used in the sentence.
This was supposed to be a reference to shield composition, and the "may change" clause a reference to marshalling. I've given it a try but this seems to focus too much on marshalling, and I may change it back after time provides some distance. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Analagous customs are followed...galero in heraldry - to me this would come better at the beginning of the paragraph. That way the customs are analogous to those of the Roman Catholic Church, rather than those of the pope, schools and dioceses. (Although I can see that putting the pope at the start of the paragraph keeps the references to the RCC together)
institutions such as schools and dioceses - perhaps Church institutions... as I presume Church schools are what is meant here.
Lead restructured. I was thinking of this anyway. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I wonder if there is a better image than Martin Luther's seal for illustrating this article. It illustrates the point that personal arms can become used as impersonal, but is not really recognisably 'armorial' (Is that a shield with a cross right at the centre of what looks like a flower?). What about Image:Archbishop_Stefan_Insignia.png, which is reasonably early (12th century), is a good illustration of the seal featuring the likeness of a person, and also demonstrates the oval shape? Or something else from commons:Category:Seals instead?
The purpose was to show another seal that may be less foreign than the medieval ones. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    • History
In the first sentence do we need both the Middle Ages, and beginning in the late eleventh century?
The link between heraldry as used on the battlefield and as used by the Church on seals could be made a bit more explicit. As it stands the second sentence does not seem to have anything to do with the first.
I'm not sure it is entirely correct to say that helmets, crests, coronets etc have never been used in the heraldry of ecclesiastical bodies or individuals. I came across a book today (A Treatise on Ecclesiastical Heraldry, by John Woodward (Edinburgh, 1894) ), and although I only flipped through it, I remember seeing many examples where these elements were used, particularly on the Continent among prelates etc who held temporal authority.
I did not say they were "never used" but "found little place" - that might still be too far but the helmet/crest seems to me more a Germanic thing, probably deriving from the prince-bishops. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
How about something like the following for the first paragraph:

Heraldry developed in Europe in the late eleventh century as personal badges of the warrior classes, in part as a mark of identification on the battlefield. In due course its use spread to other aspects of life, particularly on seals as evidence of the identity and authority of the person issuing, or party to, a legal document. The Church also needed to identify the origin of documents and ownership of property, and likewise adopted the use of seals. Over time seals became essential to conducting business, with the Synod of London in 1237 requiring seals for all religious authorities in 1237, and the decree of Edward I of England in 1307 that no document would be valid without one. The earliest ecclesiastical seals bore a likeness of the owner of the seal, as did contemporary seals of the nobility with the shield (displaying the heraldic insignia) included. Over time the seals of the nobility were reduced to just the shield, and clergy followed this development. Personal arms of bishops and abbots often continued to be used after their deaths, gradually becoming an impersonal seal. There was a tendency for clergy to avoid the use of the more martial aspects of the coat of arms, such as the helmet and crest, as well as symbols of temporal rank such as coronets, however, this was not always the case, particularly if a prelate enjoyed some form of secular authority. (insert example here, e.g. the German Prince-Bishops?). The galero (see below) was used instead of the helmet and crest in the arms of cardinals from the 13th century and later adopted by bishops, but ecclesiastical heraldry did not have a formal structure for indicating position within the Church until the seventeenth century, when a system for ecclesiastical hats attributed to Pierre Palliot came into use.

The last paragraph, especially the marking of buildings remains, reads a little bit oddly. What sort of community is meant, a religious one, i.e. an order/abbey?
I had in mind processional banners as in a school. Specified. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be good to give a translation of Collegio Araldico and Annuario Pontifico, or at least a brief gloss as to what they are.
    • Tincture
There's not really any need to introduce the terminology or, argent etc since these terms are not subsequently used. How about replacing the second sentence with

The heraldic metals are gold and silver, usually represented as yellow and white, while red, green, blue, purple and black normally comprise the colours.

An heraldic rather than a heraldic is strictly correct I think
It sounds like the colours for licence plates were chosen to obey the rule of tincture. Perhaps Most licence plates today use colour combinations which satisfy the rule of tincture for the same reason., or better The same principle can be seen today in the choice of colour combinations used on licence plates
Changed. I was not conscious of this in regard to license plates until I read that idea in every WP heraldry article on tincture. Some of those articles could use a similar copyedit. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Shield
A new bishop requires personal arms almost immediately. One of his duties as bishop is to prepare documents which must bear his own name and arms - does this refer just to Catholic bishops? Is this document just one with his name and arms, or does this mean he needs arms to seal the document to make it valid?
Specified RC. Official documents are written on a sort of letterhead and press-sealed. The arms are usually on the letterhead and definitely on the seal. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
escutcheon of pretence - I think this terminology is only valid applied to an inescutcheon borne by the husband of an heraldic heiress (he is 'pretending' to her arms)
The footnote goes to a description of the arms of a Bishop Bootkoski which uses the phrase: escutcheon "in pretense".[1] Maybe I'll footnote an explanation. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
A married Anglican bishop combines the arms of his wife and the diocese on two separate shields placed accollé, or side-by-side - this is a little unclear. How about A married Anglican bishop combines his personal arms with those of his diocese on one shield and with those of his wife on another shield, the two shields being placed accollé, or side-by-side
The caption is also a bit confusing, how about the arms of an Anglican bishop marshalled with those of the diocese (left shield) and of his spouse (right shield)
Caption changed. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I found the last paragraph rather confusing. As I understand it Anglican diocesan bishops impale their personal arms (if they have any) with those of their See. How does this differ from Catholic bishops? Also, how can official arms be personal arms? The former relate to the office, the latter to an individual; if the individual holds the office then they are combined, e.g. by impalement. Also the Anglican Church, to me, refers to the wider Anglican communion, not just the Church Of England. The Anglican church in Commonwealth countries in particular follows the same heraldic traditions. Brooke-Little, in his 1983 revision of Boutell's Heraldry says this:
Archbishops and diocesan bishops may impale their personal arms on the sinister side with those of the See. Other bishops use only their personal arms. All bishops ensign their shields with their mitre.
perhaps we could use something like that for the first sentence. The second sentence is better, I would be inclined to leave out 'for similar reasons', and possibly also 'arms of', because it is the dioceses which cannot be recognised in law. If you want a reference for this, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act 1871 seems to be the operative act. It basically repeals the penalties prescribed by an earlier act for anyone using the titles Archbishop of X, Bishop of Y, Dean of Z except for holders of such offices in the Church of England, but does not remove the offence. (Brooke-Little says it is due to a clause in the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829, but as far as I can tell the clause although similar has since been repealed)
    • Galero
I thought I remembered reading somewhere that Anglican clergy can use hats as well. A bit of digging reveals that they can. The following passage again comes from Boutell's Heraldry, p225-6, but similar information can be found in Heim's Heraldry of the Catholic Church, in the chapter on the Church of England:

Anglican clergy not of episcopal rank, unlike the Roman clergy, have always borne arms in the same way as laymen, that is with shield, helm and crest. Recently, particularly in High Church circles there has been a movement to dispense with helms and crests, and replace them with ecclesiatical hats like those in the Roman Catholic Church. This mild agitation culminated in the Archbishop of Canterbury writing to the Earl Marshal, to say that in his view it would be proper and acceptable that those clergy of the Anglican Communion who desired to ensign their arms with an approved design of ecclesiastical hat should be permitted to do so. In response to this letter the Earl Marshal issued a Warrant on 21st December 1976, permitting the Officers of Arms to marshal the arms of those clergy of the Anglican Communion who wished to use hats in place of crests to do this, and list of appropriate hats was annexed to the warrant. The hats authorised are as follows:

DEANS: A black hat having three red tassels pendent from purple cords on either side. ARCHDEACONS: A black hat having three purple tassels pendent from purple cords on either side. CANONS, HONORARY CANONS EMERITUS AND PREBENDARIES: A black hat having three red tassels pendent from black cords on either side. PRIESTS: A black hat having one black tassels pendent from a black and white cord on either side. DOCTORS OF DIVINITY: The hat appropriate to their degree, the cord from which the tassel depends being interlaced with a skein of red. MEMBERS OF THE SOVEREIGN'S ECCLESIASTICAL HOUSEHOLD: The hat appropriate to their degree charged on the front of the crown with a Tudor Rose proper. DEACONS: A black hat without either cords or tassels

Depictions of these hats can be found here, which incidentally mentions that the hat used in Presbyterian coats of arms is a geneva bonnet, rather than a galero.
Fine, I'll work this in (given a full reference). I've been limiting the article to statements I can verify from another source, and as I noted in PR I do not have the Heim book. By the way, the Geneva hat is already mentioned in a footnote. Nevertheless many Presbyterian arms use a hat that looks (to me) indistinguishable from any other galero. The movement to use Geneva hats is a sort of heraldry current event. I don't want to quote blogs but I tried to acknowledge it by having the footnote on Geneva hat point to one of the people pushing for it. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Motto
Translation of the Latin would probably be a good idea.
I thought the translation was adequate, but I suppose the humor may be more evident now. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Papal Insignia
The book by Woodward I mentioned above gives examples of other clergy using angels as supporters.
AFAIK, no RC clergy uses supporters based on office held, except the Pope. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Chivalric Insignia
This section seems only to address Catholic orders. What about the British orders of chivalry, for example, or the Order of St John?
Main point here was that RC clergy can only use chivalric insignia from two orders - any others are not allowed on their coat of arms. Happy to add information on other orders if it has some religious connection and a reference. Gimmetrow 19:51, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment Two bad images. Image:CoA Husi Bishopry.jpg and Image:Serb-ch.gif have no source. There is no licensing information on either the original design or this particular rendition. Best course of action would be to just remove both; they're not essential to the article. Jkelly 00:57, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Without them there will be no eastern heraldry image. Gimmetrow 01:10, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm willing to put in some time to help with this. Let's look for some old illustrations of Orthodox coats of arms. Jkelly 18:15, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I've removed both images and rearranged the others for layout. Gimmetrow 15:35, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment. I've copy-edited the first few sections (rather quickly). I wasn't entirely happy with the writing: a few of my edits were personal preferences, but most were sorely needed. Please check them, since I'm unsure of your intended meaning in a few places (like right at the top). Tony 16:14, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Does this refer to the hidden text around "permissible"? Fixed. I was struggling with that sentence before; it doesn't fit with the other ideas in the paragraph. I rewrote the lead a couple days ago, and now that sentence is unnecessary. Regarding shapes, clergy don't use fewer shield shapes, but rather more often use the shapes that have less obvious military connections. Gimmetrow 17:15, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support; but a few suggestions. Typically we use "According to <expert>, XYZ is true" only when XYZ is subject to debate. Thus, I don't think the following sentence is optimal: "According to Guy Selvester, 'non-episcopal cardinals may not display a cross in their arms.'" I could be wrong, but it seems that this isn't controversial. Leave the citation, drop the "according to" bit. Another thing: in the sentence "No other Roman or Anglican clergy has a right to supporters unless by personal right", what does "personal right" mean? Unless that is understood by the reader, the sentence isn't worth much. Other than that, nice job. I can't comment on whether or not this is comprehensive, but it looks FA worthy. --Spangineeres (háblame) 17:56, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
This cardinal-not-a-bishop detail is not mentioned in other sources, but one case contrary to Selvester's statement is given in the same paragraph. I can't determine if the arms are "improper", there are different schools of thought, or Selvester is wrong.
Regarding "personal right", for clergy the use of supporters is not based on an office held (primate, patriach, etc.), except for the Pope. But if someone used them before becoming a priest (eg, in the family coat of arms, or from former military service), these could be retained.
Are periods at the end of captions an MoS rule I don't know about? Gimmetrow 18:51, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Regarding Selvester, that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying "personal right". As for image captions Wikipedia:Captions suggests that complete sentences are preferable, and I've seen a number of people mention using periods on FAC. But no, it's not in the style manual right now, and it's not a big deal, but I like to see them when there are relatively long image captions. --Spangineeres (háblame) 00:12, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
OK. I had decided a while back not to use periods because some of the captions are not complete sentences. Gimmetrow 01:14, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


  • Symbol support vote.svg Support--Riurik 03:55, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Sandy 23:06, 21 August 2006 (UTC)