The flag of the Vatican City State with the Union Flag on the Mall during Pope Benedict's State Visit in September 2010

The flag of the Vatican City State
with the Union Flag on the Mall
during Pope Benedict’s State Visit
in September 2010

“Hoist the signal for the peoples”

Isaiah 62:10

The flag which flies at St Sabina’s is that of the Vatican City State. From 754, the popes ruled large parts of central Italy and, eventually, also Avignon and Venaissin in France. The French Papal territories were seized in 1791 and, by 1861, the Papacy had also lost its Italian territories except for Rome, which was itself taken by the new Kingdom of Italy in 1870. The popes withdrew to the Vatican. In 1929, however, the Lateran Treaty between Pope Pius XI and the Italian State led to the formal recognition of the Vatican City as a separate state and the Lateran and Castel Gandolfo – the country retreat of the popes – as extra-territorial.

 

Flag of the Vatican City State

Flag of the
Vatican City State

On 7 June, 1929, Pope Pius IX formally approved a flag for the new Vatican City State. It is yellow and white or, in heraldic terms, gold and silver. In the white half is the Vatican City coat of arms which consists of the papal tiara, two keys and a red cord connecting the keys. The keys allude to Christ giving the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to St Peter – the first Bishop of Rome and pope (Matthew 16:19). The gold key represents the spiritual authority of the papacy and the silver, its secular.

We fly the flag of the Vatican City State to show that we are part of the worldwide Catholic Church, whose earthly centre is Rome.