What Do These Mitre Lines Mean?


I had a question regarding the markings on a Bishop’s Mitre (I think that’s what it’s called. It was the headgear he was wearing and I’m not 100% sure if that’s the proper name).

Today, I attended an event at the Our Lady of Fatima Sanctuary in Holliston, MA and Bishop Paulo Antônio de Conto presided over the Mass (…he’s the Bishop of Criciúma – Santa Catarina, Brazil).

Anyway, I don’t know if this is a common design on a Mitre, but I saw several vertical lines (twelve green, four yellow, seven red, four light blue and eight dark blue). The first two red vertical lines had two shorter red horizontal lines across them to form the shape of a cross.

I assumed that the number, length, position and colors of these lines signified something, but I couldn’t figure out what (…aside from the fact that a couple of red lines looked like a cross). Perhaps it’s a rough outline of a world map, but I was wondering if somebody could help me figure this out. I will try to include a photo of the Mitre that I took today.
Explore Black Knight


I hope I haven’t stumped everybody. :confused:


By jove, I think you have!!!

I thought the colors may represent the different ethnic groups, but I’m not sure who is “Blue”.


Who would be “green?”

Have you considered contacting the parish and asking if they know?


Well, four of the five colors are liturgical colors, if you take the position that the “dark blue” may be purple…green for Ordinary Time, gold (yellow) for Easter, red for Passion Sunday, and purple for Lent and Advent. Blue is not an authorized liturgical color, but it’s still used in some places illicitly.

So, just for the sake of argument, let’s say that these are supposed to be liturgical colors; and to me, the arrangement of the lines resembles a heartbeat on an electrocardiogram scope. If you put those two together, you could say that it represents the “heartbeat”, or the “life” of the Church through the liturgical year. Of course, that’s total speculation on my part.


Canadians in the winter.


Obviously a barcode, possibly the number of the beast.



I bet it has no significance whatsoever. The cross yes, but the rest, the color and lines, no.


I was thinking pretty much the same thing. The only thing that I could come up with is the EKG type lines and the cross representing that life is only found in Our Lord.


I think you have it right:
4 lines prior to the cross are 40 days of Lent
cross is Triduum
5 lines after the cross are 50 days of Easter (to penticost)
4 lines of cyan are 4 weeks of advent.
8 lines of blue are the octave of Christmas
Green is ordinary time. (varies in length)


Looks like the outline of a bat to me.

Someone should ask the bishop what possessed him to put a Rorschach test on his mitre :slight_smile:


It means that the designer of this modernist miter (and whoever purchased it) have bad taste.

Don’t read so much into it!


Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. :slight_smile:

To NotWorthy: I thought in a similar vein when I heard that he was a Bishop in Brazil, since the Brazilian flag has green, yellow and dark blue in it. I could theoretically explain the red as the blood of Christ, but I was left puzzled at the light blue lines.

To KarenNC: I actually may wind up taking this question to the Diocese of Criciuma in Santa Catarina, but since my Portuguese isn’t my first (or my strongest) language, I thought I’d rack the brains of the English-speaking folk first. :smiley:

To Wolseley: Now that you mention the possibility of the lines coming from liturgical colors, that actually makes a lot of sense. Perhaps in Brazil, they have slightly different color schemes. I honestly don’t know. Black Knight also mentioned the possibility of the lines signifying some sort of EKG reading or a heartbeat in general. I’ll keep this in mind, should I need to go to the Diocese for a definitive answer.

To I Leatherman: The Bishop did speak at length about Hell *(…something that is often missing from the Sunday Mass that I attend). * While it would seem odd to want to wear anything signifying Satan, maybe the Mitre somehow signifies Satan’s defeat by Jesus at the cross. Granted, it may be a long shot.

To Bruised Reed: I don’t know. The lines just don’t seem all that random to not mean anything. One thing I’ve come to learn is that pretty much everything worn by members of the clergy means something and I’ve found some of the explanations to be fascinating. Having never met a Bishop before, I was more than intrigued by his Mitre design.

To Black Knight: Again, it seems like quite an intricate and deliberate design, so I’m hesitant to write it off as not meaning anything (…aside from the cross, of course). This answer I seek is more for my own desire to understand more about the symbolism used in Catholic designs. It won’t affect my faith one way or another, but it’s like a pebble in my shoe. I’ll never fully be able to let this go until I find out, you know?

To Evan: WOW! That was a well thought out explanation *(…and certainly better than anything **I ***was able to come up with). I will see if this is, in fact, correct if the need arises to contact the Diocese. It certainly seems to make the most sense and if that is, in fact, the answer, I’d be particularly impressed with the thought that was put into the design of the Bishop’s Mitre.

To Gottle of Geer: At one point, it also looked like a bat to me believe it or not. Of course, it would make zero sense if that were, in fact, the idea behind the design. :rolleyes:

To lepanto: My wife actually agrees with you. She dismissed it as a funky design to avoid otherwise controversial designs that would stir up anti-Catholic sentiment. She also told me not to read all that much into it, but given the nature of Catholicism and knowing that everything means something, it’s hard for me to just write it off as nothing but a poorly designed logo or something.

If anybody else has any ideas, please let me know. Thank you again for taking the time to help me figure this one out.


Modernism is a heresy. There’s not “modernist” about the miter, which is contemporary (and very, very ugly).

I think charity dictates that we take up a collection and buy the Bishop a new hat. :stuck_out_tongue:


I vote for Gottle of Geer’s explanation



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