The Coat of Arms of The Most Reverend Charles Jason Gordon, D.D. Bishop of Bridgetown, Barbados and Bishop of Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Below is the official explanation of the Coat of Arms as written by its designer Deacon Paul J. Sullivan. It includes the armorial description (Blazon) and the design elements (Significance).
Blazon: Azure, above a chevron Argent, a crescent within a semé of twelve stars, also of the second; issuant from base three hills, with a cross issuant from the valley of the first and second, all of the second and issuant from that same valley a river of the first. As supporters upon the shield at the nombril point, two shields; to dexter: Vert, a flying-fish Argent, accented Or, below two tridents of the last; to sinister: Gules, an altar Or, charged with a Chi-Rho Sable below a fleur-de-lis Argent.
Significance: The episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop’s coat of
arms, is composed of a shield, which is the central and most important part of the design, a scroll with a motto and the external ornamentation. The design is described (blazoned) as if the description was being given by the bearer (from behind) with the shield being worn on the left arm. Thus, it must be remembered, where it applies, as the device is viewed from the front that the terms sinister and dexter are reversed.
The design for Bishop C. Jason Gordon is highly unusual to reflect that His Excellency is the bishop of two separate dioceses. His Excellency’s personal arms occupy the main shield of the design, while the arms of each of his Sees of Jurisdiction are placed as external supporters of the main design.
His Excellency, Bishop Gordon’s
design is composed of a blue field on which is placed a silver (white) chevron, employed as a carpenter’s square, to honour the Bishop’s particular Patron, Saint Joseph, for it was on the saint’s feast day that Bishop Gordon was ordained to the holy priesthood. Above the chevron is a crescent moon surrounded by a scattering (a “semé”) of twelve stars to reflect His Excellency’s deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is described in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 12:1) as “having the moon at her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” The seven-pointed star is characteristic of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron of the Americas. Below the chevron, coming forth from the base of the shield (“issuant”), are three hills, with a cross and coming forth from the valley a
river. This is the logotype of a community called “Living Water Community,” to which Bishop Gordon belongs. The community’s logo incorporates the three hills that Columbus first saw and thus named the island Trinidad, which also refers to the place of birth and home of Bishop Gordon. The beautiful stream is emblematic of the grace that flows from the heart of God (Ezekiel 47); a reference to the Living Water, the Holy Spirit, that Jesus promised (Jn 7:37).
In heraldry, the art and science of the study of what are called “coats of arms,” a point one-third of the way up from the base of the shield is called “the nombril point.” At that point are placed two shields for the two dioceses over which Bishop Gordon will have jurisdiction. To the left (heraldic dexter) is a green shield on which are placed two gold (yellow) tridents above a flying fish, in silver (white) and gold (yellow). The
fish, a symbol of Christ for the Early Church, is taken from the arms of Barbados, and the tridents are taken from the country’s national flag. To the right (heraldic sinister) is a red shield on which is placed a gold (yellow) altar, charged with the Chi-Rho (XP) of Christ, that is under a silver (white) fleur-de-lis, for Our Lady, all reflective of The Faith in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
For his motto, His Excellency Bishop Gordon has selected the phrase “TOTALLY YOURS.” The phrase expresses His Excellency’s knowledge and belief that for Christians to be successful and to achieve Eternal Life, we must give our lives completely to God. This motto expresses his total consecration to Jesus through Mary in union with St. Joseph.
is completed by the external ornamentation which are a gold (yellow) processional cross, that is placed in back of the shield and which extends above and below the shield, and the pontifical hat, called a “galero,” with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop, by instruction of The Holy See, of March 31, 1969.
By: Deacon Paul J. Sullivan Deacon of the Diocese of Providence (RI-USA)