The Shields of Christ Church 

Christ church in Tarrytown has a very interesting collection of shields that were installed in the nave and the San Marcos chapel.

Shields in the Nave - North Wall: 6 shields

St. Philip

This shield is believed to be for St. Philip. Often there are two loaves present to represent the loaves of bread that recall Philip's comment at the feeding of the multitude recorded in John 6:7.
A questionable tradition holds that Philip was a missionary to Phrygia and Galatia. Philip is said to have been martyred by crucifixion or the spear, or bound to a cross and stoned to death.
St. Philip's Day is May 1.

St. John

This shield is believed to represent St. John.
John was the youngest brother of James (the Greater) who was martyred in 44 AD. He became the bishop of the church at Ephesus. He was exiled to Patmos and then returned. Tradition claims that John was the only disciple to die a natural death, at great age in about 100 AD at Ephesus.
St. John's Day is December 27.

Saint Peter

Peter was also known as Simon or Cephas. He was the brother of Andrew. He became the leading Apostle after Pentecost until the Council of Jerusalem in 50 A.D. Afterward his whereabouts are not known with certainty.
Peter was crucified in Rome under Nero. An ancient historian records that he asked to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified as his Lord. His shield shows an inverted cross and two keys saltire, or crossed - the 'keys to the Kingdom'. The crossed keys also refer to Peter's confession and the words of Jesus about the power to "bind" and "loose" on earth and in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-20).
St. Peter's Day is June 29.

Saint Thomas

Thomas was an evangelist in Persia and India. In India he is reported to have built a church with his own hands.
Thomas died when he was shot with arrows, stoned and left to die. A priest then ran a spear through him.
St. Thomas' Day is December 21.

Saint Simon

This disciple was also known as Simon the Zealot. Nothing of his missionary work can be authenticated, but he is variously said to have worked east of Palestine or to have accompanied Jude in his journeys.
An early historian claims that Simon was martyred in Persia by being beheaded or sawn in pieces. His shield indicates that he was a fisher of men through preaching the gospel.
St. Simon's Day is October 28.

Saint Jude

Jude, referred to also as Thaddeus and as Judas, son of James, traveled with Simon the Zealot on missionary journeys.
The manner of Jude's death is unknown, but martyrdom is the accepted belief. His shield, suggesting his journeys, bears a sailboat.
St. Jude's Day is October 28.


South/Center Wall: 6 shields

Saint Paul

Paul was known as Saul of Tarsus before his conversion. He embarked on three missionary journeys that took him to Syria, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and elsewhere. He is the traditional author of 14 of the Epistles.

Paul's shield has on it an open Bible, and on top of the Bible, a sword. Sometimes the sword has on it the words 'Gladius Spiritus', or, Sword of the Spirit. Take the helmet of salvation and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18, especially v.17).

Paul was martyred in Rome, probably by beheading, in 68 A.D.
St. Paul's day is January 25.

Saint Matthias

Matthias was the Apostle chosen by lot to take Judas' place as one of the twelve.
Tradition holds that he worked in Judea or Ethiopia. He is said to have been stoned and then beheaded.
St. Matthias' Day is February 24.

Saint Bartholomew

Bartholomew is believed by some to be the same as Nathanael. He probably preached near the border of India and in Armenia.
According to tradition, Bartholomew won King Polymus of Armedia for Christianity, but so angered the king’'s brother in doing so that he had him flayed, crucified head down, and then beheaded. His shield displays three flaying knives.
Saint Bartholomew's Day is August 24.

Saint Matthew

Matthew was a son of Alphaeus and a tax collector. He was also known as Levi. According to tradition, he went to Ethiopia after preaching to the Jews in Palestine.

Traditional accounts of Matthew's death vary. Some say he died a natural death. Others say that he was crucified in Ethiopia and was then beheaded. His shield displays three purses, a symbol of his job as tax collector.
St. Matthew's Day is September 21.

Saint James the Greater

James was the brother of John and a son of Zebedee. He traditionally preached in Spain after working in Jerusalem.
James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa around 44 A.D. He is the only apostle whose death is recorded in scripture (Acts 12:2). His shield shows a scallop (or cockle) shell, a symbol of pilgrimage by sea, and the sword of martyrdom. Sometimes three shells are shown without a sword.
St. James' the Greater's Day is July 25.

Saint Andrew

Andrew was the brother of Peter. He is said to have founded the church in Russia. He is the patron saint of both Russia and Scotland.

Tradition holds that Andrew was crucified in Greece on a cross saltire.
St. Andrew's Day is November 30.


San Marcos Chapel, East Wall: 2 shields


The Cross depicted as rising out of a chalice is a symbolic reference to the Lord's Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane;
Matthew 26:39
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”"

Saint James the Less

James (called "The Less" or "The Just") was a son of Alphaeus. He worked in and near Jerusalem and was probably its first bishop.
An ancient historian claims that James was pushed from a pinnacle of the temple at the age of 96. Near death, he rose to ask forgiveness for his enemies, who then beat him with a fuller's bat and sawed his body in pieces.
Saint James' Day is May 1.


San Marcos Chapel, West Wall: 2 shields

Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross is much loved of the Church of Scotland (Episcopal). It possibly represents the Irish High Crosses. These were usually erected to mark a holy or religious place such as a monastery or church in the 8th - 10th centuries. The majority of High Crosses were built in the 9th and 10th Century with early examples in County Kilkenny and Co Tipperary, one the more famous ones being at the monastery of Clonmacnoise in County Offaly (Ireland).

Eastern Orthodox Cross

The cross that is used in the Eastern Orthodox traditions.
The cross has three horizontal crossbeams; the top represents the plate inscribed with INRI, and the bottom, a footrest. In the Russian Orthodox tradition, the lower beam is slanted