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The Compass Rose:
It's Orgin and Meaning

The emblem of the Anglican Communion, the Compass Rose, was designed by the Reverend Canon Edward N. West, of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City. The orginal wooden model of the emblem was six feet in diameter and was made for the second international Anglican Congress in Minneapolis in 1954.

The Compass Rose is set in the nave of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Canterbury, England, and it was dedicated by Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Robert Runcie at the final Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference in 1988. He also dedicated a similar Compass Rose in the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (National Cathedral) in Washington, D.C. in 1990.

At the center of the circular emblem is the red cross of St. George on a silver shield, a reminder of the origins of the Anglican Communion and a unifying link of the past within the communion today.

Encircling the cross is a band bearing the inscription "The Truth shall make you free" in the original New Testament Greek, the language studied by all scholars within the communion. This quotation, from St. John's Gospel, was also the text of the opening sermon preached at the second Congress, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Geoffrey Francis Fisher.

From the band radiate the points of the compass, the major divisions colored in gold and blue and the minor division in green and gold. The compass symbolizes the worldwide spread of the Anglican faith.

Surmounting the shield, at the north, is a mitre, the symbol of the Apostolic Order (the role of the Episcopate) which is essential to all the churches which constitute the Anglican Communion.

Today the Compass Rose is used throughout the Anglican Communion as a symbol of the Anglican family of churches. It is also the logo of the Anglican Consultative Council.

(Taken from "Who Are the Anglicans?"  -  Charles Henry Long, Editor)

 


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