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Archbishop Emeritus John Lee was born on 5 October 1933, ordained priest on 27 December 1964, appointed bishop on 30 March 1987 and ordained bishop on 26 June 1987. He was appointed Archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI on 23 May 2008.  He retired on 1 December 2012.


Archbishop Emeritus’ Coat of Arms

The Cross

Aside from the white two-barred cross inside the shield, a bigger one in gold is placed behind the shield. It relates to the archbishop’s processional cross and the jurisdiction it symbolises. Besides being just a symbol of Christianity, the cross is to honour and remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This symbol reaches the very heart of Christianity, for whoever honours and venerates the Cross carries always on his body the way of dying of Jesus and shares the glory of his resurrection.

Hat And Tassels

These are traditional signs of the Church that reflect the Office of Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church. The intertwining of the cords that link the hat with the ten tassels is a reflection of the fact that the Local Church is closely united with the Universal Church, always in communion and in obedience to the Holy Father, the Pope. It is also a symbol of divine guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit within the Church in carrying out its mission in spreading the Gospel of peace.

The Pallium

The pallium, a woollen vestment with six crosses worn over the shoulders, is a distinctive vestment of metropolitan archbishops and is displayed below the shield.

The Shield

This forms the central part of the armorial bearings. The shield as a whole is symbolic of the need to always rely on the armour of God, carrying the shield of faith so that it can be used to put out the burning arrows of the evil one.

The Mountain

The outline of Mt Kinabalu signifies the location of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu in the State of Sabah in the Federation of Malaysia, since the mountain is one of the most outstanding landmarks of the state. For the People of God in the archdiocese, the mountain reminds them of Zion, the holy mountain where God has constituted Jesus Christ as the King. Happy are those who take shelter in Him, the Rock.


This Chinese character meaning LOVE is drawn graphically into two parts. The upper part of the character illustrates the simple roof of a shepherd’s hut. Taking shelter below it, are the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child Jesus on the manger. It denotes firstly, the deep devotion of the archbishop for the Mother of God and our Mother and providentially, the archbishop was ordained at the beginning of the Marian Year of 1987.

Secondly, this word sums up the whole act of God’s LOVE for humanity expressed through the tender care of the mother for the child. The Church is like a mother constantly showing her love and mercy for the children of God through the administration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments. The Church also acts as a womb for the rebirth of people through the water of baptism, bringing about the birth of Jesus in the hearts of people.


The words: KASIHLAH SATU SAMA LAIN is adopted as the official motto of the archbishop who wishes to use this most important advice of the Good Shepherd to be a constant reminder to himself and his flock: the need to love one another as Jesus has loved us.

The Colours

The green hat and tassels are the official colours used by the archbishop of an archdiocese. The green colour signifies the rich traditions and teachings of the Church kept alive by the Holy Spirit throughout the ages until the present time.

The red colour used on the outline of Mt Kinabalu reflects the stand taken by the Church to preach the Gospel with courage and boldness in all situations.

The dark blue used on the Chinese character LOVE is most appropriate for the word, since blue colour is often associated with peace and harmony. The lighter shade of blue shown around the Chinese word is the colour of the Blessed Mother.

The white colour of the Cross in the shield and on the background for Mt Kinabalu signifies purity in the hearts of Christians, the process of sanctification of people through the power of God while the gold colour of the Cross behind the shield siginifies the glory that is to come for those who are faithful to the values of the Kingdom of God.

Speech: Maktab Nasional Graduation Night 2013

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