The arms are described in heraldic terms thus:
Per fess Or and Azure between in chief a quatrefoil of annulets interlaced and in base a trefoil of annulets interlaced an icthus all counterchanged.
The four annulets at the top of the shield represent the original four diocese of the Province (Quebec, Montreal, Toronto and Huron) and the four dioceses of the Province for most of its history (Nova Scotia, Quebec, Montreal, and Fredericton). Their shape makes a reference to the bishop's ring, a symbol of authority, and they are interlaced to represent unity and collegiality, forming the basic Christian symbol of the cross. The interlacings also creat a saltire (a diagonal cross), which appears on the arms of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and, as such, honours the fact that Nova Scotia was the first diocese in Canada.
The three annulets in the lower part of the shield indicate Newfoundland, which was a single diocese upon joining the Province, but which was later divided into three.
At the centre of the shield is th ichthus, one of the earliest Christian symbols, found where the followers of Jesus met in secret. Ichthus means "fish" in Greek, and its letters are an acronym for "Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour", also in Greek. Fishing is, of course, a notable activity in the Gospels - Jesus called his disciples to be "fishers of people" - and the symbol is an appropriate one for the Province considering how important the fishing industry has been to the economy of eastern Canada. This is probably the first time this symbol has been used in a coat of arms.
The arms are in two colours, blue and gold, the former being a reference to the sea, as all the dioceses are intimately connected with the Atlantic ocean.
The arms, formally granted for use by the Metropolitan, will usually be ensigned by an episcopal mitre (as shown).
The arms were granted on 30 August, 2000, and formally presented to Provincial Synod on 14 September, 2000.
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Last Updated: 2015 May 16
Mise à jour : 2015 mai 16