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Getting Up Close & Personal With Archbishop Leahy Statue In Thurles.

Yesterday, December 17th, 2023, the once wilfully decapitated and now restored statue of Archbishop Patrick Leahy D.D., latter Archbishop of Cashel from 1857-1875, was officially blessed by Archbishop Kieran O Reilly.

Close up pictures hereunder, show the remarkable likeness to the original head first executed at Carrara, in Italy by Professor Pietro Lazzerini. The material then used was Sicilian or bastard statuary marble, but was of such excellent quality that, on first sight, one would imagine it was real statuary marble.

It is also interesting to note that the statue appears to have been adjusted on a previous occasion, since it was first erected in 1911. In a photograph of the statue, taken sometime between 1911 and 1912, by Webster, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary and shown hereunder, the image displays a different pectoral cross*. Today, within the Church, pectoral crosses remain restricted to popes, cardinals, bishops and abbots.
[*The word pectoral comes from the Latin ‘pectoralis’, meaning ‘of the chest’, (‘pecs’)]

This Cross appears to have been adjusted at a later date to represent a cross with two arms signifying a cross belonging to an Archbishop, with the cross held by a cord displaying one Solomon’s knot. The cross matches the gilt cross with two arms currently positioned on the summit of the Thurles Cathedral Baptistery, thus signifying that Thurles Cathedral belongs to an Archbishop.

The Archbishop of Cashel acting as Apostolic Administrator of Emly, until they were united on January 26th 2015, to form the new metropolitan see of Cashel and Emly.

If anyone has any further information regarding this matter, we would love to hear from you.

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