Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church

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Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church
Double-headed eagle emblem of John VIII Palaiologos (r. 1425–1448).

The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Mount Athos, and also the Greek Orthodox Churches in the diaspora under the Patriarchate use a black double-headed eagle in a yellow field as their flag or emblem.

The eagle is depicted as clutching a sword and an orb with a crown above and between its two heads.[1] An earlier variant of the flag, used in the 1980s, combined the double-headed eagle design with the blue-and-white stripes of the flag of Greece.[2]

The design is sometimes dubbed the "Byzantine imperial flag", and is considered—inaccurately—to have been the actual historical banner of the Byzantine Empire. The double-headed eagle was historically used as an emblem in the late Byzantine period (14th–15th centuries), but not on flags; rather it was embroidered on imperial clothing and accoutrements by both the Palaiologos emperors of the Byzantine Empire and the Grand Komnenos rulers of the Empire of Trebizond, descendants of the Byzantine imperial family of the same name. The actual flag of the Palaiologan-era Byzantine Empire was based on the tetragrammatic cross in gold on a red background. This design also forms the basis for another flag used by the Orthodox Church of Greece, with the added inscription of TOYTῼ NIKA (i.e. in hoc signo vinces).


  1. ^ The Flag Bulletin. 27. Flag Research Center. 1988. p. 105. It is not surprising that all symbols of Mount Athos, especially the Byzantine double-eagle and the Holy Virgin, who is the patron of the Holy Mount, represent old Byzantine traditions. [...] The flag of Mount Athos (Fig. 1) is golden yellow bearing the black Byzantine double-headed eagle with an imperial crown. The eagle holds on its claws an orb of black with golden bands and a black.... Use of such a flag, under the name of "Byzantine Imperial flag", has been reported on the Flags of the World vexillological mailing list in 1999.Use of the "Byzantine Imperial flag" by the Greek Orthodox Churches (António Martins , 27 January 1999; John Udics & Ned Smith, 15 February 2006)
  2. ^ Flag of the Orthodox Church of Greece Tomislav Todorović, 2 June 2015

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