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Papal Flag

Shop for authentic Papal Flags. We offer indoor and outdoor Vatican City flags in nylon and polyester. Our outdoor flags are finished with a canvas heading, while indoor flags are finished with a lined pole hem and your choice of with or without fringe. We also offer indoor and outdoor Papal flag sets.


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History of the Papal Flag

The Papal Flag is a national flag with many historic, political, and religious connections. It has a square design, with a gold hoist (left) side and a white fly (right) side. These bisect the flag. On the white side is the Papal Coat of Arms, which consists of a crossed pair of keys supporting a Papal Tiara.

The Papal Flag is also known as the Flag of the Vatican City, or the Flag of the Holy See. It has been the official emblem of the independent state of Vatican City since 1929. The world's smallest independent nation, Vatican City was established by the Lateran Treaty of that year, signed by Pietro Gasparri and Benito Mussolini.

Pietro Gasparri was a representative of Pope Pius XI, and Benito Mussolini represented King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. The Lateran Treaty finally settled a long standing dispute between the Pope and the Italian state. It was a compromise which ceded a tiny portion of the Italian mainland to the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Modern Italy was a very young country at the time. It was unified in 1861, from a collection of independent states. One of these was the Papal States. The Papacy refused to give up its territory, which led to their eventual occupation. Various Popes demanded recompense for this occupation. This became known as the Roman Question.

The cross keys design on the Papal Flag is a reference to Saint Peter. The first Pope, Peter is said to hold the keys to heaven, and established Christianity in the home city of the Roman Empire. As the religion spread across Europe, the Papacy gained an enormous amount of power and territory. Some of this territory was in Italy itself.

The Papal States included Romagna and Latium (modern Lazio), which surrounded and protected Rome. The Italian state occupied Romagna in 1860 and Latium, which included Rome itself, in 1870.

While this occupation was good for Italian unity, it also caused successive governments many problems. A deeply religious, Roman Catholic country, the new Italy had something of an identity crisis. Both residents and officials alike were often torn between loyalty to their new state and their beloved and revered Pope.

The Lateran Treaty of 1929 was designed to resolve these issues. Benito Mussolini, the Prime Minister at the time, was determined to further unify Italy under the banner of Fascism. Fascism itself refers to the "fasces" emblem of the Roman Empire's army. Mussolini was determined to heal Italy's rift with the Pope.

As a result of the Lateran Treaty, the Papacy has complete control over Vatican City. It is both a religious and political entity, and not part of Italy. This means it is not part of Rome. It has its own police and administrative structures, all of which are subject to the Papacy. The Papal Tiara on the Papal Flag is a symbol of his rule over the spiritual and physical government of His city.

Vatican City National Anthem

Pontifical Anthem and March (Marche Pontificale)

Listen

Lyrics

O happy Rome - O noble Rome
You are the seat of Peter, whose blood was shed in Rome,
Peter, to whom the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given.
Pontiff, You are the successor of Peter;
Pontiff, You are the teacher, you confirm your brethren;
Pontiff, You who are the Servant of the servants of God,
and fisher of men, are the shepherd of the flock,
linking heaven and earth.
Pontiff, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,
a rock amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;
You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,
watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

Pontiff, you are the unshakable rock, and on this rock
was built the Church of God.

Pontiff, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,
a rock amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;
You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,
watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

O happy Rome - O noble Rome.