THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: The Coat of Arms

 As you walk across the wide portals and tall pillars of the Bombay Seminary you are ushered into the parlour where you await your appointment. Glancing around the room, your gaze rests upon a unique shield set against the wall. Its iconography adds a burst of colour to the white surface. Intrigued, you walk up to the icon for a more detailed glance.

Your absorbed attention is interrupted by a kind hello. You turn to find a seminarian who introduces himself and gives you a little booklet that contains a detailed understanding of the shield. Thanking him, you zestfully get back to explore the shield, its unique symbols, and interesting history. The text begins:

The Diocesan Seminary of Bombay at Goregaon has its Coat-of-Arms designed by Rev T. Molina S. J in 1960. But first, let’s consider the question ‘What is a Coat-of-Arms’?

A Coat-of-Arms is an important hereditary device borne on a shield dating back to the medieval period. The term in origin refers to the surcoat worn by combatants with a heraldic design. It serves to denote identity, purpose, family descent, profession, alliance, etc. However, we need not enter into the intricacies of heraldry.

It is important to note this art that developed in the Middle Ages was not restricted to the royal families, the princes, and the knights. The ecclesiastics, who also shared in the love of symbolism imported Heraldry in the Church which was further developed and termed ‘Ecclesiastical Heraldry’. While there is freedom in the selection of symbolism, the fundamental rules to be followed are common to all, lay adepts included.

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