The Carmelite Shield

Throughout the centuries the shield of the Carmelite Order has undergone various transformations. The main elements have remained: the representation of a mountain, Mount Carmel, in the center of the shield with a star on the mountain side and two stars above and on either side of the summit. The stars represent the Marian and Elian traditions of the Order. The star on the mountain represents the Virgin Mary to whom the Order is dedicated. The two stars in the upper portion of the shield are the prophets Elijah and Elisha. These two men from the Book of Kings in the Old Testament are considered the spiritual inspirations of the Order today.

Some versions of the shield include five stars above the shield in the form of a crown. The crown represents Mary as “Mother and Splendor of Carmel”, an ancient title attributed to the Mother of Our Lord by the early Carmelites.

7 Comments

  1. C. Camilleri

    Nice but that’s not the true meaning of the carmelite shield! Look up your Carmelite history books pls :)

  2. bro. William

    I two liked the 6 pointed star(star ofDavid?) However when I visted the official website for the

    Carmelite Order the star when I went the the shield section was a 5 pointed star. Interesting? When I emailed them to explain I did not recieve any expantion.

  3. Michael Mulhall

    The shield seems to have come from the escutcheon fashioned for Albert as Patriarch of Jerusalem. See the picture given in Vincenzo Mosca’s book, Alberto Patriarcha di Gerusalemme, p. 739 where it appears on a token used by pilgrims. The stars are rosettes.

  4. Christopher Sedlmeyer

    The shield on this page is blazoned as: Argent, a pile inverted throughout brunatre, three mullets of six points counter changed. This is a modern derivation of the historic Carmelite shield that has curved lines defining the ordinary, making it a chape ploye (“cleft in the mantle”), rather than a straight pile. Thus, historically the blazon is rendered: Brunatre, chape ploye argent, three mullets of six points counter changed. The historic rendering of the shield seems very similar to the Dominican simplified shield made to represent the formal habit of the order, a black chape ploye for the mantle on a white field for the tunic. Thus, the historic Carmelite shield might have been influenced by this Dominican treatment and made to look like the Carmelite formal habit, a white chape ploye (like the Carmelite mantle) on a brown field (like their brown tunic). The fact that this rendering also creates a brown mountain shape only confirms the appropriateness of the design.

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