While having weathervanes in churches in not something weird, the addition of the rooster is something that always had me questioning. Out of all animals, why rooster?
Well, for all of you useless info junkies out there, t’s time to find out.
First of all, if you don’t know what the purpose of the weathervane (or, more accurately, wind vane) is, it’s basically an instrument that shows the direction of the wind. Their first appearance can be traced back to 50BC in Ancient Greece in the Athenian “Tower of the Winds”. The reason why they were mostly placed on churches in particular, was purely practical. Since churches were usually main landmarks in a community, weather vanes were placed on their top so people could easily know the direction of the wind. The addition of the rooster came during the 9th century though. (the article continues after the ad)
Pope Nicholas I, ordered that every church in Europe should have a rooster on its steeple as a reminder of Jesus’ prophecy that the cock would not crow the morning until Peter denounced Him three times. Since in most churches the steeples had already a wind vane, the highest point to place the rooster was at the top of the weather vane.
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Photo: The Modbury Team of Churches