Golden Lion of the Republic of Macedonia

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The most popular proposal for a new coat of arms from 1992, by Miroslav Grčev

The Golden Lion is an unofficial symbol of the Republic of Macedonia. It was used in the past for setting Macedonia free from the Ottoman Empire. Today the lion is a symbol used from many parties in Macedonia especially VMRO-DPMNE. After the independence of Macedonia from Yugoslavia the lion was proposed as a coat of arms of the new independent state, but at that time was rejected. In 2009 VMRO- Peoples party proposed the golden lion on red background as a new coat of arms of Macedonia.

Historical coats of arms[edit]

The symbol of the golden lion on red ground first appeared as a symbol of "Macedonia" in armorial rolls of the late middle ages. The earliest known attestation is in the Fojnica Armory[1] from 1340, where it contains a seven-pointed crown and appears side by side with entries for Illyria, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Serbia and Bulgaria. The Korenić-Neorić armory roll of 1595 included a 5- pointed crown. The Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art displays a 1620 version of the symbol with 3-pointed crown, while the Berlin Library displays a 17th-century version with the 5-pointed crown.[2] The use of the lion to represent Macedonia was continued in foreign heraldic collections throughout the 15th to 18th centuries[3][4]

Efforts to update the national emblem[edit]

Such efforts have so far failed, due to political and national disputes over possible replacements. A proposal by architect and graphic designer Miroslav Grčev was put forward in 1992 to replace it with a revised version of the historical gold lion on a red shield. The Macedonian Heraldry Society considers that coat of arms to have been the best solution for a new state emblem.[6] However, this was rejected on three main grounds:

  • several political parties, notably VMRO-DPMNE, already use that emblem as their party symbols
  • the Albanian political parties of Macedonia considered the proposal to be only representative for the ethnic Macedonians, but not also for ethnic Albanians
  • the state coat of arms of Bulgaria features a lion similar to the Macedonian

Because of these reasons, the political parties agreed to continue to use the current device until a solution is found. The emblem did not appear on the country's first passports, however, in 2007 the device was put on the front and the inside of the new biometric Macedonian passports, while the parliamentary debate about acceptance of a new national emblem still continues.

According to the provisions of the Article 5, Section 2 of the Constitution of Macedonia, the two-thirds majority is required to pass a law on the new symbols of the Republic. The usage of the Coat of arms has been defined by a law.[7]

Modern versions of the lion[edit]


  1. ^ Fojnica Armory, online images
  2. ^ Macedonian heraldry|
  3. ^ Matkovski, Aleksandar, Grbovite na Makedonija, Skopje, 1970
  4. ^ Александар Матковски (1990) Грбовите на Македонија, Мисла, Skopje, Macedonia - ISBN 86-15-00160-X
  5. ^ Makedonsko Heraldicko Zdruzenie/Macedonian Heraldry Society, Zemski Grbovi
  6. ^ "The most acceptable design was of Miroslav Grcev, professor of architecture"
  7. ^ Zakon za upotreba na grbot, znameto i himnata na Republika Makedonija ("Služben vesnik na Republika Makedonija", No. 32/97, 1997-07-09)
  8. ^ used i.e. on the logos of sports club FK Makedonija Gjorče Petrov and conservative political party VMRO-DPMNE
  9. ^ used on the coat of arms of the World Macedonian Congress and the magazine Australian Macedonian Weekly