DioCal Archivist Michael Stroup discovered this discription of the seal of the Diocese of California in the Diocesan Convention Journal of 1893.
“The seal of a Diocese should be in the shape of what is called a pointed oval, this having been suggested by the form of [see illustration] the fish which, in early Christian times, was used as a symbol of Christ, from the fact that the initial letters of ‘Jesus Christ the Son of God the Saviour’ in Greek formed the word ΙΧΘϒΣ — a fish. The shape must be produced by the intersection of two equal circles, each of which passes through the center of the other, producing that which is true. The bearings consist of a golden shield, a bishop's mitre, and a ribbon with the motto, ‘Pacifica et Impera.’ All of this lies on a background of rich purple, the recognized color. On the golden shield is a group, composed of the Iona Cross, with the circle and the key and the crozier or pastoral staff; issuing from the group are rays of glory. Above this, in the upper part of the shield, is the descending dove of the Holy Spirit; and below, in the base of the shield (in natural colors), are the hills (the earth), suggested by part of the arms of the State of California. The shield, the key and the crozier are taken from the arms of Bishop Seabury, the first Bishop of the Church in this country. The Iona Cross is significant of the Scotch succession of the Episcopate, associated with Iona Island, from which succession Bishop Seabury received his consecration at Aberdeen in 1784. The legend ‘The Prot: Ep: Church in the Diocese of California’ is placed in letters of gold within the outlines of the border, which is also in gold. The ground of the border, on which are the letters, is of a tint in pleasing and correct keeping with the purple center.”
Engraving from the 1893 Diocesan Convention Journal
Embroidered patch of the seal of the Diocese of California
2011 reworking of the seal for the 161st Diocesan Convention