Of all of the signs and symbols that have become synonymous with Churchie over the years, St Magnus, the Viking saint, must surely be one of the most enduring.
Canon Morris based the school’s ethos on the patron saint, St Magnus, a Viking Earl known for his Viking strength of character and his qualities as an educated man with a Christian nature. Churchie’s four tenets of academic excellence, personal development, spiritual awareness and service, build on the characteristics and attributes displayed by St Magnus.
The boys and young men of Churchie are surrounded St Magnus’ presence every day. We have his statue high on the north wall of the Canon Jones Memorial Chapel and the roof itself is modelled off the hull of a Viking ship. We have Magnus Hall, Magnus Quad and Magnus House. We have the Viking Café, Vintage Vikings (Old Boys) and The Viking
yearbook. At major sporting events, Eric the Viking makes an appearance and Viking references adorn team names and rowing boats. The school crest features the Viking axes and now a statue of St Magnus features prominently in Magnus Quad, greeting all who visit the Senior School.
In choosing St Magnus as patron saint, Churchie’s founder Canon Morris ensured that all students who pass through the school are inspired by the faith and conviction of St Magnus, a man who rejected a life of violence and privilege to give himself to the service of others.
In 2017, the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Magnus, Churchie proudly unveiled two stunning works of art that embody the enduring, central place of St Magnus in the heart of Churchie: The Spirit of St Magnus statue and the Holy Icon of St Magnus of Orkeny.
The Spirit of St Magnus
The work by Dr Rhyll Hinwood, who previously crafted the sculpture of Canon Morris near the Jackson building, was unveiled on 10 August by School Council Chairman Daniel O’Connor and The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, and blessed by Senior Chaplain Father Bryan Gadd with the full Senior School and special guests in attendance.
Providing an insight into the work, Rhyl explains, ‘It is hoped that as young men stand beside the cast bronze life size figure of St Magnus today, they might identify with his life of heroic nobility as they embark upon their own life's path. I chose to give visual impact to the artwork by including the form of a great eagle, symbolic of the spirit of Magnus and inspiration for the school motto Alis Aquilae
(on eagles wings). The luminous eagle, clad in armour richly embellished with Icelandic derived design, rises above the young Magnus to inspire today’s youth.’