ABOUT OUR SEAL
The body of the SEAL is an image of The Lamb of God with halo on azure blue field, holding the Primatial staff with the Resurrection banner emblazoned with the cross of Saint George. Centered beneath this image is a single Cherokee Rose. The Lamb of God is a scriptural reference to Christ: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, King James translation). To function as a symbol, The Lamb of God here is depicted in stylized rather than naturalistic form.
In Christian art, Christ and the saints normally are depicted with a halo; therefore, as a symbol of Christ, The Lamb of God appropriately has the halo. In the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition of Iconography, the halo of Christ has an equilateral cross signifying the Crucifixion, and may be bordered by a red circumference line with outer white line. The red line signifies the Greek letter Alpha, interpreted “the beginning,” and the white line Omega, “the end.” Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. The gold halo of The Lamb of God in the Christ Church Episcopal SEAL has an equilateral red cross with flared ends and is bordered by the Alpha and Omega colors. Presented as an Easter Resurrection symbol, The Lamb of God carries a Primatial or Patriarchal staff with banner. The Primatial staff, symbol of primacy and authority, terminates in a cross with two arms, the lower arm shorter than the uppermost arm. Anglican Primates, including the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, carry a Primatial staff in procession.
The Resurrection banner displays the plain red equilateral Saint George cross on a white field, one arm of the cross elongated to extend into the tail of the banner. The 1940 General Convention of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America adopted an official flag which incorporates the Saint George cross. Its white field represents the purity of the Christian religion; its red cross represents the sacrifice of Jesus and the blood of martyrs. Saint George is the Patron Saint of England. Incorporated into Episcopal Church symbolism, the Saint George cross indicates our descent from The Church of England. In the SEAL of Christ Church Episcopal, the Saint George cross also refers to the name of our state, Georgia, and to The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. This banner is billowing, symbolizing the breath of the Holy Spirit.
The Cherokee Rose, white with yellow center, is the State Flower of Georgia. Two Cherokee Roses are incorporated in the Coat of Arms of The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, allusion to the state of Georgia; therefore, the Cherokee Rose in the SEAL of Christ Church Episcopal signifies that the parish is a member of The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. In this context, the Cherokee Rose also functions as a sign of the flowering of faith.
The azure blue field reflects the primary color of the flag and Coat of Arms of The Episcopal Church. The blue sometimes is described as Madonna Blue, representing the human nature of our Lord which He received from the Virgin Mary. In this SEAL, the blue reminds us that as a parish in The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, Christ Church Episcopal is a constituent member of The Episcopal Church in The United States of America. The red, white, and blue echo the colors of our American flag.
We are very fortunate that Louise Huntington Shipps graciously agreed to design and interpret this important legacy for The Mother Church of Georgia. Mrs. Shipps is a well respected artist and iconographer. A native of Lexington Massachusetts, Mrs. Shipps is a graduate in art studies from Boston University with additional focus and training in Eastern Orthodox Iconography. She has taught painting to both children and adults, and icon workshop retreats in Savannah and at Kanuga, the Episcopal Conference Center in western North Carolina. Mrs. Shipps has a unique interest in Christ Church as she is married to the Right Reverend Harry W. Shipps, the eighth Bishop of Georgia. She and Bishop Shipps have four children and eight grandchildren.