Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Flag of the Patriarchate - Our Identity and Purpose

30 July 2014 ( ORCNS) - The flag of the Patriarchal See of Saint Stephen represents its spiritual and temporal heritage as a traditional Old Roman Catholic patriarchate with Anglican patrimony. It consists of three vertical bands in green, white, and red, with the middle arms of the Patriarchal See depicted in the center upon a red St. Stephen cross. Red and white are the common colors among the various temporal territories of the Patriarchal States. Green is used to represent the Catholic faith and the martyr's palm of Saint Stephen the Deacon. Red is also a color of Saint Stephen, and white also is an ancient Marian color still often used today at Marian feasts.

If you think that looks somewhat like an Italian flag, you are correct! The use of those colors originated in Northern Italy during the conquest by Napoleon. Red and white were taken from the colors of the flag of Milan, and green came from the color of their guard uniform. The flag of the City of Milan from which the colors derive is the St. George cross. Saint George is the Patron Saint of England and chivalry, both of which also have clear significance to the See of Saint Stephen. The Saint George cross is featured within the patronal arms of the Patriarchal See, the arms of the Governor-General, and the badge of the Patriarchal Curia.

The temporal and territorial patrimony of the Stephenian Patriarchate is centered primarily within the Holy Roman Empire territories of Italy and areas with historic Italian linkage. The See of St. Stephen also continues the Anglican patrimony of the Tuscan region of Italy. English-speaking people have been in that area for centuries and continue as part of its culture and heritage.

Over time, the three colors eventually had a religious meaning attributed, namely that of faith, hope, and charity. This is a particularly nice symbolism that also applies to the Patriarchate’s mandate of mission, service, and charity. Mission flows from the altar of God and thus is a direct product of faith. Mission is putting faith into action. Hope means never giving up and not giving into despair. It is the belief that God is present in every human life, and this this is why we engage in service.

In the center, the coat of arms of the Patriarchal See are depicted upon a red cross of Saint Stephen, Deacon and Protomartyr, our celestrial Patron. The left side of shield (as you are looking at it) contains the principle armorial achievements of spiritual patrimony, and the right side contains those of the principal temporal patrimony. In the center is an oval displaying the emblem of the Patriarch. Behind the shield are crossed the key and sword, the symbols of spiritual and temporal authority, along with two lily sceptres of Our Lady of Walsingham, Patroness of English-Speaking Catholics and of the Patriarchal Household. Atop the shield is a crown representative of the territorial patrimony of the Patriarchate. The pallium of Metropolitan authority is suspended from the bottom of the shield, and the ombrellino of the cardinalatial dignity is seen at the top. Also pendant from the shield are the collars of the Legion of the Eagle and the Orders of St. Stephen and Mary Immaculate.

The flag of the Patriarchate represents who we are, the legacy we follow, and what we do in the fulfillment of our sacred mission. It represents our identity and our purpose.