Archdiocese of Manila

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ARCHDIOCESE OF MANILA (Archidioecesis Manilensis)

Country : Philippines
Denomination : Roman Catholic

Established : 1579 as Diocese of Manila
Elevated to Archdiocese in 1595

Arms (crest) of Archdiocese of Manila
Official blazon
English blazon wanted


The castle, taken from the original arms of the City of Manila, which originated from the arms of the Kingdom of Castile, was changed into a tower to represent God Himself, who is called in Psalm 60:4 “turris fortis contra inimicum” (a tower of strength against the enemy). The three windows make the tower reflect the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons in one God.

The silver crescent placed in the upper right-hand corner of the shield represents the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Manila Cathedral, the Archdiocese of Manila, and of the entire Philippines. The symbol of the moon comes from Revelation 12:1 - “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

The sea lion historically called the Ultramar (in Latin ultra means from beyond and mar connotes the sea) was a distinctive emblem given by the King of Spain to the City of Manila as an overseas colony. The lion is derived from the arms of the Kingdom of León, with a tail of a fish instead of legs to identify Manila as a territory overseas. The sword held by the sea lion was substituted with a cross fitchée which is a cross whose base is pointed. Crosses of this description are said to have been carried by the early Christians on their pilgrimages so that they might readily be fixed in the ground while performing their devotions. Another reason for the substitution of the sword by the cross is the policy enshrined in the Constitution of the Philippine Republic: “The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land...” (Art. II, Sec. 2). By this, the Filipino faithful proclaim that they cannot “glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

Surmounting the shield is a miter, a symbol of rank and responsibility for prelates, representing the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Manila as a diocese established by the Pope and given to the care of our Archbishop. The miter is also a sign of our final victory in heaven, its symbolism arising from St. Paul’s analogy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me “ (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

Arms of Archishops

Arms of Auxiliary Bishops


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Index of the site Info from the Styleguide of the Archdiocese of Manila