Vatican flag

Vatican flag

The Vatican is a city state and as such it has national characteristics such as a flag.

The flag consists of two vertical bands: one is gold or yellow and the other one is white. The symbol of the Vatican, the crossed keys of Saint Peter and the Papal Tiara are placed in the center of the white band. The crossed keys are made of one golden and one silver key to the left of the gold one. There is also a red cord which connects the two keys. The two keys are a representation of the keys to Heaven that were given to St. Peter, the first Pope. The golden key represents spiritual power whereas the silver key represents worldly power. This symbol is the Holy See's coat of arms in reverse. The order in which the keys of the coat of arms of Vatican City is reverse to the one on the Holy See's coat of arms. The order is reversed in order to distinguish between the two entities.


The Vatican City flag is square and together with the flag of Switzerland they are the only square country flags. The flag's stripes of white are in violation of the heraldic rules of tincture. This is due to the fact that the Vatican follows the rules of God and not man’s.

The flag's design of the Vatican flag is part of the constitution of Vatican City. It is a ceremonial flag and it is flown during various Roman Catholic religious feast days. When a Pope dies, the Vatican City flag is flown at half mast until the nine day mourning period is over. However the flag is not only used within the territory of Vatican City. This flag is also used by Catholics across the world in catholic establishments such as churches and educational institutions. It has become part of the identity of the Catholic Church.


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