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Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge

College Crest

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College Crest

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The reason the crest shows the pelican as a symbol for Corpus Christi stems from a medieval myth about pelicans: "There were no pelicans in England and therefore people in the middle ages depended on traveller's tales about them. They had this belief that pelicans, when food was short, would peck at their own breast in order to feed the young with their own blood. Why did they think that? If you've ever seen a pelican with fish in its beak there sometimes is blood running down the side of this huge beak, not because it has pecked itself, but simply because it is coming from the fish. So the pelican became a symbol for the blessed sacrament, Christ feeding his faithful people with his body and blood." It is this part of the crest which lends its colours to the College's red and white scarf. The other two quarters show a lily, symbol of purity and symbol of the Virgin Mary on a field of blue.

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