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Shields of Apostles

The Shields of the Twelve Apostles

The main superstructure and roof of St. Patricks Church are upheld by twelve number, 22 inch diameter marble columns which culminate in ornate Corinthian caps as each pair of columns form a supporting arch. Above each column is a simple painting in the form of a shield. These are known as the 'Shields of the Twelve Apostles', and the pattern on each reflects the life or death of each Apostle as follows;

St. Matthew...............................'Purses of Money', symbol of his work as a tax collector.

St. Jude.....................................'The Ship', symbolising his work as a missionary.

St. Matthias............................... 'The Book and Axe', the Apostle who replaced Judas Iscariot and who was stoned and beheaded after his missionary work in Judea.

St. Andrew................................ 'The Cross Saltire', tradition has it that this Apostle was crucified on a cross of this kind while he was preaching in Greece.

St. Peter.................................... 'The Crossed Keys', derived from the words of Jesus to him, 'I will give you the Keys of the Kingdom'

St. Thomas................................ 'The Spear and Carpenter's Square', the square represents this patron of builders who was run through with a spear by a pagan priest in India.

St. Bartholemew........................ 'The Flaying Knives', according to tradition, this Apostle was flayed to death with such knives.

St. John...................................... 'The Chalice and Serpent', early Christian writers reported that an attempt was made to kill John by giving him a chalice of poison to drink.

St. Philip..................................... 'The Cross and Loaves', Philip is mentioned as being present when Jesus fed the multitude with loaves and fishes.

St. Simon.................................... 'The Fish and Book', The Canaanite Simon was a great fisher of men as well as a preacher of the Gospel.

St. James the Greater................. 'The Three Shells', the escallop shell is the symbol of Pigrimage.

St. James (the Less).................... 'The Saw', he died a martyr's death and was sawn asunder.

 

Perhaps if you make a visit to St. Patrick's Church, you will see these Shields, and you might reflect on each Patron Saint and the meaning of the Shields.

St. Matthew St. Jude St. Matthais St. Andrew
St. Peter St. Thomas St. Bartholemew St. John
St. Philip St. Simon St. James the Great St. James (the less)

 

 

Photographs by permission of Pat Lane