The Right Reverend Augustin Marcellin Verot, S.S., D.D.

Third Bishop of Savannah, 1861-1870

The “Rebel Bishop,” Frenchman Augustin Marcellin Verot, was consecrated a bishop on April 25, 1858. On July 14, 1861, Pope Pius IX appointed Bishop Verot to the See of Savannah, vacant since the 1859 death of Bishop John Barry. The bishop was outspoken in his defense of Southern “rights,” and guided the 8,000 Catholic of the diocese during the difficult days of the Civil War. Bishop Verot sought to moderate the worst aspects of slavery and to institute “social, moral and religious improvement” for slaves. He stated forcefully that the abolition of slavery offered an unprecedented opportunity for the Catholic Church to reach out to a large bloc of people who had formerly been strangers to the Church’s teachings. Perhaps Bishop Verot’s greatest achievement was the incorporation of the Catholic schools in Savannah into the public school system, while retaining their religious character. Bishop Augustin Verot died in St. Augustine in June 1876.

Motto: Fide et Virtute [By Faith and Virtue]

Blazon: Purpure, a heart flaming and bleeding encompassed by a crown of thorns and surmounted by Latin cross argent.

Significance: Bishop Verot used as emblem in his coat of arms the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the tincture of the field in purpure, the liturgical tincture symbolical of penance and humility.

The heart is also one of the symbols of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church, Patron of the Diocese.

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