The Bishop Has No Crosier

If the Bishop has no crosier is he or she any less a Bishop? I hope not!  But, for some weeks now I have not had a crozier.

 "What is a crozier?", you might ask. Well, putting it officially, the crosier is the symbol of the governing office of the Bishop.The crozier is shaped like a shepherd's crook. A bishop of the church bears this staff as "shepherd of the flock of God”. Interestingly, the traditional explanation for the form of crosiers is that the crook at the top symbolizes the Bishop’s obligation to draw back those who stray from the faith and the staff itself symbolizes his obligation to stand as a firm support for the faithful. It is considered to be both a rod and a staff (Psalm 23:4): a rod for punishing the recalcitrant, and a staff for leading the faithful. There are a few names associated with it including, “staff", "crook” and even “battle axe” as one marvelous old legend holds in Moosonee when one former Bishop, upon vesting for service asked the Layreader “Now, where is that old battle axe?”, whereupon the poor Layreader, thinking the Bishop was referring to his wife, declared “Oh Bishop, she’s sitting out in your car”!!!

 Well all of that if fine, but the present Bishop of Moosonee has no crosier. Thankfully, the situation is not permanent. Actually I have two! The Diocesan Crosier, which sits next to the Cathedra (Bishop's chair) in the Cathedral, was originally given to the fourth Bishop, John Anderson. It is a simple yet elegant design of silver, with a small crook that includes a tiny celtic cross within it and an ebony staff. Since Archbishop Anderson’s day, each successive Bishop has had a silver band affixed to the staff that bears their name and years of service. Through the many years of its use it has had its share of battered moments. At one time it came apart into four sections for easy transport. Alas, it kept falling apart and had to be fused together. On one occasion the staff came apart just before the Bishop needed it for a blessing. It was one of those hilarious moments to see three clergy on their knees trying to put the staff together in time! In the end the Bishop just ignored the staff and the clergy! It now sits permanently in the Cathedral and is used only at Diocesan celebrations. 

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The Diocesan Crosier

Like Bishop Lawrence before me, I carry my own “travelling crosier”. It is a beautiful piece of art designed by my sister and crafted by her husband who presented it to me at my Consecration. It is made of dark mahogany and the crook has within it the First Nation symbol of the medicine wheel and feathers. The crook is made of pure bronze (and as a result is very heavy to carry). I am so very proud of it and carry it with immense gratitude.

My 'travelling' crosier

So, why am I without a crosier?…

Well, presently the Diocesan Crosier is with a jeweler having two more sterling silver rings affixed to it that will bear the names of Caleb Lawrence and myself. The project has, unfortunately, taken months to accomplish in that the staff was removed from the Cathedral in early May and is still not complete. And my travelling crosier is broken. It happened when I was at Wemindji in June. I had just pronounced the final blessing and placed the staff on the altar as the Rector had announcements to make. As I proceeded to my seat I heard behind me a thunderous crash. A young boy had walked up to the altar and reached up to grab the staff. He was no more than 3 years old and naturally, the staff fell. The wood holding the bronze crook was split. Presently the man who originally made it for me is trying to repair it. I hope I get it back!

I own a third staff…it is a real beauty. At the top of the staff is the carved head of a fox. I wonder if that is appropriate in the interim!!!




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