New Logo for Brechin Cathedral Website

The new logo was inspired by the “St. Mary Stone”.



The ‘St Mary’ Stone is a surviving part of a ninth century cross-slab, now preserved in the Cathedral.  It was found in a garden near the Cathedral, said to have once been part of the Kirkyard.  The date, 1782, incised on the slab is believed to commemorate the year it was found.  Although it is a slab in the Pictish tradition, and not a cross, there is none of the usual interlaced decoration.  It is a unique assemblage of purely Christian and Trinitarian motifs—marking the Cathedral’s dedication to the Holy Trinity.  These motifs are all of Byzantine or easter Mediterranean origin.  In the case of the part-human, part-animal, figures of the four Evangelists, their origin is possibly from Christian Egypt.  These motifs would have been transmitted, probably via Ireland and Iona, by means of small portable objects—such as ivory plaques, painted icons and textiles.

In the centre of the stone’s cross is a roundel, containing images of Mary and the Christ child, with the inscription: S.MARIA MR. XRI. (St Mary the Mother of Christ) within a pelleted halo.  This is flanked by an angel on each side with the figures of St Peter (with his key) and a bearded St Paul below them.  Above the angels is a bird, more crow than dove-like, representing the Holy Spirit.  Around the cross are the four Evangelists, the eagle of St John and the lion of St Mark below the roundel; and above left, the headless symbol of St Luke with a bull’s hoof supporting a gospel book.  Above on the right is a human hand representing St Matthew.  The missing heads on the two Evangelists above clearly imply a lost panel at the apex of the stone, which can only have contained the usual symbol of God the Father before the 12th century—a hand issuing downward in blessing from a cloud.  So, although it is known as the St Mary stone, the cross-slab actually portayed the Trinity, the later known Medieval dedication of Brechin Cathedral.

Written by the late David G. Adams MA FSA (Scot.)






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