- This is the Seal of the Calvinistic Church
of Switzerland. On a silver grey background
there is a circle with the words in Latin
which being translate are "Geneva, the Sun,
the Shield, of this Church". These words
surround a red centre with a golden sunburst
having in its own centre the I.H.S. These
three letters represent the first two and
the last letters in the Latin scrip
representing the name of Jesus. The small
shields in the upper corners are the insignia
of two of the Protestant cantons, Geneva on
the left and Berne, the one with the bear,
on the right. The lower shields are the
personal insignia of Calvin and Beza - that
of Calvin, which shows a burning heart in
an outstretched hand was always accompanied
by his own motto, "I give Thee my heart, O
Lord, simply and sincerely." The year 1541,
which appears on this shield is the year
in which Calvin was formally invited by the
people of Geneva to return and be their
- Here again we have a silver gray background
with a blue centre in which there is a burning
candlestick surrounded by seven stars. These
seven stars refer to the seven Churches
mentioned in Revelation 1, verse 20. The
candlestick was the insignia of the Protestant
churches in the Piedmont Valley. The branches
on each side of the centre panel are oak leaves
on one side and olive leaves on the other.
Across the top are the Latin words meaning,
"The light shines in the darkness". The date
1540 on this shield is the date of the first
General Synod of the Reformed Church of Italy.
The reason why this shield is placed second
rather than first is interesting. Calvin first
came to Geneva in 1536 and worked there with the
Reformer Morrel. Morrel visited the Protestants
in Italy and encouraged them to form a church in
the Reformed tradition. This they did in 1540. In
the meantime, Calvin had been ejected from Geneva.
He was asked to return in 1541 when the church
there was formally established. There is little
doubt, however, that it was the influence of
Calvin and Morrel working out of Geneva which
established the Italian Branch of the Reformed
Church in 1540.
- Here we have a blue background with the Maltese
Cross. The Maltese Cross got its name because it
was used by the Knights of Malta. There are four
fleur de lis, or lilies, on the four corners of the
shield - these lilies are the floral emblem of
France. The dove beneath the Cross symbolizes the
Holy Spirit. The date 1559 is the date of the first
General Synod of the French Reformed Church.
In 1555, the ideas of John Calvin began to take
root in his homeland; and in 1559, the Confession
Gallicana started the principles of the French
Reformers. The form of government for Presbyterianism
came from France.
Each local church had a "session" of minister and a
group of lay-elders. Above this body was the
presbytery, composed of the ministers and an equal
number of elders of all churches located with in it.
The Provincial was the next court, including all the
Presbyteries of the province, and above this was the
General Synod, representing all of France.
In 1598, the Edict of Nantes was passed giving both
Roman Catholics and Protestants the same rights before
the law; unfortunately it was revoked in 1685 and
nearly 4,000,000 Huguenots or French Protestants fled
the country forever. France never recovered from the
loss of these talented people.
- Here we have a blue background with a large
St. Andrew's Cross. St. Andrew was, of course,
the patron saint of Scotland. In the centre is
a gold circle with the words, "Nec Tamen
Consumebatur" - "nevertheless not consumed".
The Burning Bush is in the centre of the circle
representing the Church, the Body of Christ,
exposed to fires of persecution yet remaining
unscathed in the flames. The Thistle is a
Scottish symbol possibly dating from the
founding of the Order of the Thistle
established by James II in 1687. The date
1560 is the date of the first Scotish
In 1557, some of the Scottish people made a
covenant for mutual protection against the
Roman Church. With the death of Queen Mary
Tudor and the accession of Queen Elizabeth,
John Knox (1505-1572), in 1559 was able to
return permanently to Scotland and establish
a Reformed Church. The Church of Scotland was
established by an Act of Parliament in 1592
and was so recognized by later Parliaments.
It was given complete autonomy in 1639. The
crest at its centre, The Burning Bush of
Exodus, God's first revelation to Moses.
- Here against a lovely blue background with
a large St. Andrew's Cross, St. Andrew's of
course, the patron saint of Scotland. In the
centre is a gold circle with the words, "Nec
Tamen Consumebatur" - "nevertheless not
consumed". The Burning Bush is in the centre
of the circle representing the Church, the
Body of Christ, exposed to fires of persecution
yet remaining unscathed in the flames. The
Thistle is a Scottish symbol possibly dating
from the founding of the Order of the Thistle
established by James II in 1687. The date 1560
is the date of the first Scotch Confession.
The principles of the Protestant Reformation
began to permeate Holland soon after 1521.
From 1566 to 1576, there were ten years of war
in The Netherlands, with the despotism or
oppression of the Spanish Duke of Alva on the
one hand the republicanism of William of Orange
and his followers on the other hand. In 1576,
William of Orange and his supporters triumphed.
The freedom of religion was assured to the
- Here again we have a silver gray background;
in the upper left hand corner is the sun with
a face, which probably refers to Reveiation
1:16, where the Lord is described in the
following terms - "and his countenance was as
the sun shineth in His strength." The Phoenix
which we see in the centre of this shield is a
symbol of the Resurrection. The Palm Tree is a
symbol of victory. The Lamb with the banner on
its shoulder represents the Resurrection and
when we have a Cross on the banner it is a sign
of triumph. The two open books means the
dissimination of truth by both text and doctrine.
The lettering is Hungarian and refers to Roman
8: verse 31, "if God be for us, who can be
After the middle of the 16th Century, Reformed
churches sprang up all over Hungary and in
spite of severe persecution between 1593 and
1606, a great portion of them survived.
The fight for the Reformation was led by Stephen
Boecsky. His victory was affirmed by the Peace
of Vienna of 1606 and established religious
liberty and political autonomy for the churches.
- Here we have the red and black German
colours and a silver circle with the words,
"The Reformed Fellowship of Germany". In the
centre of the circle is an open book - again
we have the thought of the dissemination of
truth by Word of Doctrine with the words in
Latin - "The Word of God endureth forever."
The date 1563 is that of the Heidelburg
Although Lutheranism was dominant tradition
of Germany and Scandinavian countries, the
crest symbolizes the Reformed Faith in
- The Seal of the Presbyterian Church in
England is a silver gray with a red Latin
Cross, the Cross of St. George. There are
two entwined circles here, one containing
the Burning Bush and the other an open Bible
with the words, "The Word of God Endureth
Forever". A dove representing the Holy spirt
is above the circles and in each corner there
is a rose, the floral emblem of England. The
date 1572 is the date of the establishment and
organization of the Presbytery of Wandsworth,
the first of the English Presbyteries.
Presbyterian ideas were evident in England in
the time of Edward VI (1537-1553) King of
England and Ireland (1541-1547). Crammer, the
Archbishop of Canterbury, held that there was
no difference in priets and bishops, in
Apostolic times, and he favoured the creation
of provincial synods and a council of Presbyters
in each diocese. The 39 Articles of the Church
of England are infused with the Reformation.
In 1876, all branches of the Presbyterian Church
were united in one organization called the
Presbyterian Church of England.
Moravia - Bohemia
- This is the modern Czechoslovakia. This Seal
is in two halves, the blue half, that of Moravia,
shows a checkered eagle; this is the insignia of
the Holy Roman Empire. The Bohemian side has a
rampant lion. In the centre there is an oval with
a chalice signifying the Lord's Supper. A palm
branch is, also, introduced here signifying victory
and a closed book which indicates mystery. A banner
at the bottom has the Latin words, "Truth Always
Triumphs". The date 1609 is the date of the first
Bohemian Protestant Confession.
Beginning with the Hussite Movement of the 15th
Century, the Moravians established a Reformed
Church. Peter of Chelcic in 1495 held the Bible
was the only standard of faith and practice. His
chief stress was on conduct not doctrine, and this
emphasis has remained with the "Moravian Brethen".
In the Bohemian Confession of 1609, the principles
of the Reformation were reaffirmed.
- The Irish crest is a red St. Andrew's Cross
against a silver background with an oval centre
which contains a elongated Burning Bush. This
is an unusual type of Burning Bush; it is
superimposed with shamrocks, the floral insignia
of Ireland. The shamrock was also used traditionaly
by St. Patrick as a symbol of the Trinity. The
Latin inscription, "Ardens sedvirens", is translated,
"The Church burning yet living". The date on this
particular Seal, 1642, is the date of the
establishment of the Presbytery of Carrick-fergus,
the first of the Irish Presbyteries. The St.
Andrew's Cross on this Seal indicates that the
Irish Church, like the Canadian, is a daughter
Church of the Church of Scotland.
The Presbyterian Church of Ireland dates from the
reign of James I (1566-1625), King of England
(1603-1625), who settled people from both Scotland
and England in Northern Ireland.
In 1625, Presbyterians and Episcopalians drew close
together in Ireland. Archbishop Usher's "Confession
of Faith", admitted the validity of Presbyterian
- The crest or shield of Wales is gold and black,
which are the Welsh colours, with the plain cross
of St. George, with five daffodils, the daffodil
being the national flower of Wales. This Church
is a great deal younger than most of the other
Churches and arose, actually, from a great
evangelical revival which culminated in a schism
in the Church in 1811, and which brought into
existance the Calvinistic Methodist Church of
Wales, which subsequently became the Presbyterian
Church of Wales.
The Welsh Church originated in the great revivals
of 18th Century Britain. Its ministers were
presbyterially ordained after 1811, and a confession
of Faith was adopted in 1823.
- With the shield of Canada we have a Burning Bush
surrounded by a Glory and set in a blue background
with white highlights representing the blue of our
Canadian skies and waters and the white of our snow.
The bush is an Acacia with flowers and lambent flame.
The roots of the bush are firmly established in the
earth. This is to signify that our Reformed tradition
belongs to all men everywhere, if they will. The date
1875, is the date of the Union of the various
Presbyterian bodies in Canada, which led to the
establishment of the Presbyterian church in Canada.
In 1875, the various united bodies of the Presbyterian
churches amalgamated in Montreal to form the Presbyterian
Church In Canada.