Armoria ecclesiastica

DIOCESE OF GRAHAMSTOWN, Anglican Church of Southern Africa.[1]

Diocese established in 1853.

Cathedral: St Michael and St George,[2] Grahamstown.

Bishop’s residence: Bishopstowe, Grahamstown.

Diocese of Grahamstown

Current arms first adopted in 1886, and granted by the College of Arms under Letters Patent dated 12 August 1949. The blazon reads:


Argent on a Cross Gules a Sword wavy proper in the first quarter an Anchor Sable.


Brownell[3] writes: “The Cathedral Church in Grahamstown is now dedicated to St Michael and St George and these arms comprise the sword of the Archangel and the Cross of St George. The anchor links these arms to those of the Metropolitan See. In the arms of the Diocese of Bloemfontein the sword of St Michael is more correctly depicted as “flaming”.

For the original arms used by the diocese, see this page.


About the diocese:

Since the current arms came into use, the diocese has been diminished in area by the establishment of three new dioceses.

The first was that of George (1911), for which parishes in the west of the Grahamstown Diocese, including that of Graaff-Reinet, were taken. The second was that of Port Elizabeth (1970), which also involved parishes on the western side.

Since then the diocese has extended along the coast from the Kei River to the Kariega.

In the 1980s the diocese created the post of suffragan bishop, based in Queens­town, to be responsible for the northern areas. Both the first and second suffragans, Eric Pike and Bethlehem Nopece, subsequently became bishop of Port Elizabeth.

In 2008 Queenstown became the seat of a new diocese, that of Ukahlamba, incorporating the northern parts of the Grahamstown diocesan area and the southernmost parts of the Free State (from the diocese based in Bloemfontein).


Bishops: The current arms were taken into use under Bishop A B Webb (consecrated 1883). He was succeeded by C E Cornish (1899), Francis Robinson Phelps[4] (1915), A H Cullen (1931), Robert Selby Taylor[5] (1959), G L Tindall (1964), Bill Burnett[6] (1969), Kenneth Oram (1974), David Russell (1987) and Thabo Makgoba[7] (2004).



The Grahamstown Diocese uses English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa in administration and worship.

[1] The ecclesiastical province headed by the Archbishop of Cape Town was known through most of the 20th century as the Church of the Province of South Africa.

In 1982 the CPSA changed its name to the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, and in 2006 it formally became the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

[2] The cathedral was originally dedicated to St George. Owing to a dispute a pro-cathedral of St Michael was in use from 1883 to ’86, when the enlarged cathedral on Church Square was dedicated to St George and St Michael. From about 1920 it has been styled the Cathedral of St Michael and St George.

[3] Heraldry of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, 1847-2000, by F G Brownell, published by Heraldsholme CC, Pretoria 2002.

[4] Bishop Phelps became Archbishop of Cape Town in 1931.

[5] Bishop Selby Taylor became Archbishop of Cape Town in 1964.

[6] Bishop Burnett became Archbishop of Cape Town in 1974.

[7] Bishop Makgoba served as Suffragan Bishop of Grahamstown (based in Queenstown) from 2002, and became Archbishop of Cape Town at the end of December 2007.


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Vir Afrikaans, kliek hier

Source of image: Line drawing in Brownell’s book, coloured by the webmaster using MS Picture It!

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Comments, queries: Mike Oettle