The Pontifical Mitre symbolises responsibility and dignity. The colour red signifies that the bishop is to give witness of his faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church, even to the sacrifice of his blood in martyrdom. The seven dots on the mitre symbolise the seven sacraments which the bishop serves and administers to believers, so that through these they may participate in the Divine life.
The Maronite Patriarchal Cross expresses the unity of our faith in the Trinity, which is symbolized by the symmetrical triangular Cross.
The Pastoral Staff signifies the staff given by God to the bishop for the care of the flock entrusted to him, because the bishop is the Good Shepherd who, in the likeness of Christ, protects and defends his flock and leads it to fertile pastures.
The Dove floating over the waters signifies the Holy Spirit, who is the giver of gifts and of heavenly graces. He has accompanied the bishop ever since his spiritual birth on the day he received the Sacred Mystery of Baptism. The Holy Spirit is the chrism with which the bishop’s hands were anointed on the day he received the Sacred Mystery of Priesthood. The Spirit has chosen him to serve the Church as bishop, successor of the apostles, in proclaiming the Mystery of Jesus Christ. The waters represent the springs of the land where the bishop was born into this world, his hometown Tannourine, which is famous for the plentiful generosity with which nature has endowed it, and especially for the abundance of its waters which, just like the ‘Spring of Life’ itself, flow and give both spiritual and physical refreshment, so that those who drink of it never thirst again.
Saint Maroun embodies the spirituality of the Maronite Church, which is based on monasticism, asceticism and the defence of the true faith. Saint Maroun is the Patron of the Diocese where the bishop serves to build his flock up in faith, shepherd them, and sanctify them, so that they may all obtain salvation.
The Green Cedar has three aspects:
1. It symbolises the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God. In the Maronite tradition, we implore her saying: “O Cedar of Lebanon, Pray for us!” She reigns over our new bishop’s heart, steadying his steps on the path to the Kingdom of God, for he has heard Our Lord Jesus Christ say: “This is your mother.”
2. It is the emblem of Lebanon, from where our new Shepherd, Bishop Tarabay, started his journey in response to the Voice of God which said: “Go from your country and your kindred … to the land that I will show you.” (Gen 12:1)
3. It is the symbol of the Lebanese Maronite Order, which has nurtured Bishop Tarabay´s vocation to a consecrated life. The LMO has been, for him, the field where he has grown and where his talents have developed, and his personality refined. In the Order, he learned to walk the path of sanctity, in the footsteps of those who have reached the glory of holiness: the great Saint Maroun, Saint Charbel, Saint Rafqa, Saint Nemtallah and the Blessed Brother Estephan.
The Stars of the Southern Cross, symbol of Australia, signify the fresh horizons for which the new bishop aims. Australia is the land of his mission, the field in which he serves, almost the Promised Land. Through faithfulness to Australia and serving the values of the Gospel, Bishop Tarabay contributes to develop an Australia of human and moral values: the values of openness, cooperation and diversity.
The Maronite Cross in the middle represents the sign of victory against both invisible and visible enemies, as the Syriac proverb has it: “ بخ ندقر لبعلدببين ومطول شمخ ندوش لسنين ” which means: “Through you (the Cross), we defeat our enemies and, for the sake of your name, we lay our feet on their tongues”. It unites the elements of the Episcopal Arms in faithfulness and openness. The Cross of the Lord is the source of faithfulness which generates faith and peace. Openness is represented by the arms of the Cross, spread wide, to embrace everybody in the unity of love of which Bishop Tarabay has become a servant.