Coat of Arms
Archdiocese of Cincinnati · Coat of Arms
The arms of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (adopted ca. 1921) are: Or a Plow between three Crosses botonny fitchy Gules.
The plow represents the Roman hero Cincinnatus, who, when called by the Senate to assume the dictatorship in defense of the Republic, responded at once, leaving his plow behind in the field. When the Senate offered Cincinnatus the dictatorship for life, however, he declined and returned to finish plowing his field. Cincinnatus was taken as a model by the officers who served with Washington in the War of Independence. After the war, they created the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1790, Gen. Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, changed the name of the settlement on the Ohio opposite the Licking River from Losantiville to Cincinnati in honor of this society.
The three crosses in the arms evoke the Holy Trinity. They also associate the plow with the Church’s missionary labors. The crosses are pointed at the foot for planting in the earth and budded at their tips, burgeoning with new life. They recall the planting of the Catholic faith in the territory northwest of the Ohio, where Cincinnati was the first diocese established (1821).
The colors of the arms, red and gold, are traditionally associated with St. Peter, the patron of the cathedral of the archdiocese, St. Peter in Chains. The bishop’s miter placed above the shield indicates that these are the arms of a diocese.