Heraldry is the system by which coats of arms and other armorial bearings are devised, described, and regulated.
It is more than just artwork or a compilation of symbols. It involves a rich heritage that values scientific work involving rules of division, the careful placing of symbols known as charges, and the proper use of tincture (color), among others.
The Escudos Eclesiasticos, in its pursuit of heraldry, studies these matters thoroughly. The members are also constantly improving their skills, taking into account internationally accepted norms and guidelines on this art in the history of the Catholic Church.
A reference used frequently by members of this organization which it has considered as its magna carta are the writings of Archbishop Bruno Bernard Heim (1911-2003), the Vatican’s first Apostolic Nuncio to Britain and one of the most prominent armorists of twentieth century ecclesiastical heraldry. You can now find this in the official page of the Ecclesiastical Section of the Filipino Heraldry Society.
Escudos Eclesiásticos is an association of Filipino Catholic heraldry artists who aim to collaborate and to provide good quality designs of ecclesiastical heraldry for individuals, both clergy and laity, institutions, and communities within the Catholic Church in the Philippines and commits to uphold the rules of heraldry while allowing room for inculturation of the Filipino sensibility, guided by the theological principles of the use of liturgical art as part of the Church’s via pulchritudinous, a reflection on beauty as a path to God in light of the New Evangelization.
The association was formally founded on May 29, 2021 on the memorial of Pope St. Paul VI with six initial members. Since then, more ecclesiastical heraldry artists joined in the organization in order to learn from one another.
Some of its recent projects are the digitization of the coats of arms of previous and present Filipino bishops uploaded through wikipedia.org that could be used by the dioceses if needed. The group now also assists bishops, priests, parishes and lay people in designing their coats of arms. In 2022, the group ratified its official 2 constitution and by-laws and vision-mission statement in order to establish the path of the group for its future.
Sample works of Bro. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban, founder and head designer of DOMVS AVREA Ecclesiastical Designs (August 28, 2022)
As of this year, the organization is comprised of the following brands:
Auxilium Christianorum Ecclesiastical Heraldry - A design firm under young heraldry artist Johnel C. Dimco from the Diocese of Bacolod. Auxilium Christianorum refers to the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Litany of Loreto as the “Help of Christians”. The firm specializes in ecclesiastical heraldry for clergy for parishes. Auxilium Christianorum is currently in collaboration with Escudos Eclesiásticos PH in the digitization of the coats of arms of past Filipino bishops which are featured in their page and also uploaded at wikipedia.org.
DOMVS AVREA Ecclesiastical Designs - A heraldry and graphic design initiative founded and owned by Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban, a Catholic lay theologian and church historian based in Bulacan in the Diocese of Malolos. Founded on May 19, 2016 during the traditional feast day of Nuestra Señora de Guia de Ermita, the firm is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. DOMVS AVREA refers to the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Litany of Loreto as the “House of Gold”. In its six (6) years of operation, DOMVS AVREA has produced an official enhancement of the coat of arms of a Filipino cardinal. It has made two (2) original concepts and six (6) official enhancements of the coats of arms of eight (8) bishops. It has crafted the coats of arms of seven (7) cathedrals, four (4) minor basilicas, six (6) national shrines, two (2) UNESCO World Heritage sites, 30 diocesan shrines, and more than 250 parishes, chapels, oratories, Catholic schools, and ecclesiastical organizations in over 40 dioceses across the Philippines. At present, the head artist is finishing a doctoral degree in Ecclesiastical History at the University of Santo Tomas and is also a member of the Guild of Liturgical Designers (GOLD), a multi-disciplinary group of Filipino professionals and service providers in designing and building liturgical and sacred spaces in collaboration with the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Church Cultural Heritage. For more information, see www.domvsavreaph.wordpress.com
Gladius Ecclesiastical & Heraldic Arts - A design firm is owned by U.S.-based artist Steve Yambao from Arayat, Pampanga, who is a tertiary member of the Order of Discalced Augustinians. The artist also serves as Chairman of the Heraldry Guild of the Philippines and Vice-Chairman of Escudos Eclesiásticos PH. Gladius is the Latin word for “sword”. Gladius also specializes in company logos, emblems, svg files and etc.
Labor pro Fide Ecclesiastical Arts - A design firm owned by John Paul Aven, a young graphic artist from the Archdiocese of Caceres in Camarines Sur. Labor pro Fide is a Latin phrase that means “Work for the Faith”. The firm caters services for the clergy and for parish designs.
San Agustin Ecclesiastical Art - A graphic design firm owned by Kian Andrei Estebar, a young graphic artist from Cavite in the Diocese of Imus. This firm is named after San Agustin de Tanza, patron saint of the Diocesan Shrine of St. Augustine in Tanza, Cavite. SAEA specializes in vexel art for beloved images and portraits and promises the finest, most finessed line arts available in productions.
SANCTI PETRVS ET PAVLVS - Designs and Print A graphic design and printing service provider owned by Doel Peter Paul Alvarez from Guiguinto, Bulacan in the Diocese of Malolos. This firm is named after Saints Peter and Paul who are the artist’s name sake and personal patron saints. The firm specializes in heraldry and graphic design and printing services in cloth, textile, and estampita and paper production.
Stella Maris Ecclesiastical and Heraldry Art - A graphic design firm owned by Roi Andrie Hernandez from Binangonan, Rizal in the Diocese of Antipolo. Stella Maris refers to the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the “Star of the Sea”. The firm caters to designs for cathedral, parishes, and chapels within the country. The artist is a volunteer in a number of media ministries in parishes in the towns of Binangonan and Cardona, Rizal. The artist is a proud student of the Regional Lead School for the Arts in Angono, Rizal specializing in Performing Arts and is also a writer and dramaturg in the Luwal Sining Pagganap.
Titan Heraldic and Visual Arts - A graphic design firm owned by Karl Lemoncito Narumi and Benjiemar G. Dagala from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro founded in March 2022. The name Titan came from a moment remembering the friendship and collaboration of the artists. Titan caters to corporate logos, coats of arms and other graphic designs.
Z Ecclesiastical Graphics - A graphic design firm owned by Zairem Guimba, a young graphic artist from Cavite in the Diocese of Imus. The firm specializes in vexel art for services by Graphic Designs specializing in Religious Arts.
Artists begin their work through their individual design firms and brands, operating individually but sharing their artistry and expertise for artworks.
Then, through the arduous process of joining together as group, they are able to provide a common contribution to the work of ecclesiastical heraldry in the Philippines,
Official Unveiling of the Tercentenary Emblem of the Christianization of the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of San Miguel Arcangel, San Miguel, Bulacan with the theme “Bayang Naglilingkod: Hinuhubog at Sumasamba tungo sa Ika-300 Taon ng Parokya ng San Miguel, Bulacan” (May 8, 2022)
Official Unveiling of the Coat of Arms of St. John the Baptist Parish, San Juan, Hagonoy, Bulacan (March 14, 2022)
Saving the Lost Art of Heraldry
Kudos to the Escudos Eclesiasticos for saving the lost art of heraldry and for ensuring that each insignia is not just random art but a message of great value for its owner, for the institution it represents, and for the history it provides.