Bishop Bahhuth’s Coat of Arms

“If I help one person to come to know Jesus, that person will have eternal life.”

-Bishop Albert Bahhuth

This is the framework for his heraldic achievement design.

In Bishop Bahhuth’s design, the top of the shield is blue which represents the Blessed Virgin Mary and Her love for her Son and His Church. On it appears the Fleur de Lys, the universal symbol for the Mother of Christ. All other symbols for Mary are representative of Her under one title or another or to represent one particular Marian apparition. The Fleur de Lys in Catholic heraldry, however, universally covers every title and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Below the Los Angeles Dedicated Charge on Bishop Bahhuth’s coat of arms, there is a heraldic pattern called the “barry wavy.” This type of pattern represents water, movement, travel and resettlement. This was chosen to honor Bishop Bahhuth’s original roots in Lebanon and his choice of residence in California. These lines also represent the sacrament of baptism, which is the first sacrament which an ordained priest and bishop presides over after their Rite of Ordination.

There is a rendering of an open Book of Scripture with the word “ICHTHUS” written across the two open pages. This word was the early church’s emblem to identify themselves as secret devotees of Jesus Christ, Redeemer of Mankind. Bishop Bahhuth has written: “If I help one person to come to know Jesus, that person will have eternal life.” So, to bring this sentiment into his heraldic achievement, the open scriptures are marked with the word ICHTHUS, representing the importance of bringing Christ to everyone Bishop Bahhuth encounters.

The next field in Bishop Bahhut’s coat of arms is in red. Red first and foremost represents the blood of Christ, and the Holy Eucharist in the form of the Sacred Blood. Red is also the color of deep emotion, particularly love for Jesus Christ and His love for us in return.

There also appears the Catholic heraldic emblem for the Good Shepherd. Catholic heraldry actually does not permit the image of Christ carrying the lost sheep, so for hundreds of years the proper emblem for devotion to Jesus the Good Shepherd has been the image of a lamb with the halo and a shepherd’s staff.

The shield’s three colors, red white and blue are a subtle tribute to the United States, the land where the bishop’s vocation both was awakened and came to fruition. 

The bishop has the same external elements specific to ecclesial heraldry, such as the galero hat, the twelve tassels, and the episcopal cross. Bishop Bahhut’s cross is uniquely rendered in gold with an emerald at the center. Emeralds are regarded as the stone of Lebanon and bring further homage to the bishop’s family heritage. 

Additionally, in biblical times, emeralds were considered priestly stones and were commonly used to chase evil out of the possessed. Lastly, the motif worked inside the episcopal cross is in the form of wheat sheaves, representing the Eucharist.


Learn more about this significant occasion where Msgr. Albert Bahhuth, Father Matthew Elshoff, OFM. Cap., Father Brian Nunes and Father Slawomir Szkredka, will become auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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