Notebook

Shepherding

In the rite of consecration of a bishop, the consecrator gives the newly ordained his staff and says: ‘Receive this staff, a sign of your calling to be a pastor. Watch over the flock which the Holy Spirit has appointed you to govern in the Church of God.’ My own staff, a gift from a faithful friend, was made in the workshop of the Hungarian master silversmith Kristóf Gelley. He has just released a video recording the process of creation. You can find it here — a testimony to craftsmanship of the highest order.

A pastoral staff is crooked as a means of catching hold of the hind legs of sheep in flight from the fold: that, too, is part of the shepherd’s task! The crook on mine, which recurs in my seal, is modelled on the seal of St Bernard of Clairvaux. The cross is Byzantine (you may refer to this exquisite example), a reminder of all I owe the rich tradition of the Eastern Church, which is nourishingly present, too, in the heritage of Nidaros.