Saint Patrick's Basilica, Ottawa

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Country : Canada
Denomination : Roman Catholic

Arms of Saint Patrick's Basilica, Ottawa

Official blazon

Or an annulus surmounted by a shakefork Azure, on a chief treflé Vert three Celtic crosses Or; The Arms set on an ombrellino proper, a key Or and a key Argent in saltire; Motto: ADVENIAT REGNUM TUUM


The arms were granted on April 15, 2005.

The colours gold and green were chosen by the church to establish a link to Ireland. Additionally, the blue colouring alludes to the Marian colour, the waters of baptism, the waters of the rivers in Ottawa, and the parish’s first patron, Saint Andrew.

The Celtic crosses represent the Irish heritage of the founders of the parish. The circle and shakefork allude to Saint Patrick because the shakefork appears in the same shape as a pallium, a vestment associated with him. The Y-shape is also used to allude to Ottawa, this device being found in the old emblem of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

The chief has its lower edge drawn with shamrocks to signify Saint Patrick’s work in Ireland.

These armorial bearings become a visual metaphor or parable, being emblematic on the surface and pointing towards a deeper meaning in several places. The three Celtic crosses emphasize the Holy Trinity. The wandering lower line of the chief symbolises the idea that our lives sometime take meandering paths towards our goals. The ring represents the circle of the sun that Maewyn Succat (his original name, it being Romanized as Patricius) added to the Christian cross. On a deeper level, the gold within the ring forms a nimbus for his head and we see “Saint Patrick.” The shakefork is chosen to allude to the story of his using the three-leaved shamrock to help explain the idea of the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Moreover, the device represents a call and answer to service. The three branches represent Saint Patrick, the plan of God, and the action of Saint Patrick agreeing to follow God’s plan, from which a great work resulted.

Behind the shield appears the insignia of a Papal pavilion and crossed keys, indicating that the parish church has been named as a Minor Basilica by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

Motto The sentence means “Thy kingdom come” and is taken from the Lord’s Prayer.

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