President of the Republic of Lithuania

The Flag of the President of the Republic of Lithuania

A purpure cloth centre front and back is charged with the coat of arms of the State of Lithuania with supporters: on a pedestal a griffin rampant in dexter and a unicorn rampant in sinister, all argent, armed and membered or, langued gules. The cloth edged on three sides in cord or. Ratio - 5:6. The staff of natural wood has a finial imprinted with the coat of arms of the State of Lithuania.

Most states which incorporate the institution of a president use flags (standards) to represent said institution. As regards its status, the presidential flag is second after the national flag, and third if a state flag is used alongside the national flag. Presidential flags are emblematic and often differ from national and state flags in their colour, size, and ornamentation. Lithuania had no officially legalized presidential flag, although, as noted, there is evidence that one was used in the pre-war Republic of Lithuania, at which time a red flag charged with the mounted knight on one side and the Columns of the Family Gediminas on the other, was hoisted above the presidency.

The symbolism of the new flag for the President of the Republic of Lithuania was based on the historical state flag. But bearing in mind that the need might arise to officially legalize (as was done in 2004), alongside the national flag, the historical red flag with argent knight of the state of Lithuania, it was decided to use a cloth of purple approximating red, and to embellish the State coat of arms with supporters on the Presidential flag. Supporters existed in Lithuanian heraldry from the time of Vytautas until the end of the 18th c. in the form of angels, warriors, flora, mythological beings and other creatures. The griffin and the unicorn were chosen for several reasons, including because angels are no longer used by secular states, and armoured warriors would give the Presidential emblematic flag a militaristic appearance. The griffin and unicorn are supporters for many European state arms, and have a deep symbolic significance.

The griffin and the unicorn have been part of Lithuanian state heraldry since the beginning of the 16th c. The griffin, a hybrid of the eagle and the lion, represents the eagle's vigilance and keen eye, and the lion's strength and pride. The mythical unicorn resembles a colt, but has cloven hooves, a beard, and a golden spiraled horn growing out of its forehead, wherein dwells its intellect; it symbolizes wisdom, tolerance and innocence. Historically both mythological beings were used in church life as well as in heraldry, and were favoured by astrologers and alchemists. During the 14th-16th c., the unicorn, in its representation of chastity, was a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The griffin was often connected with Christ; the eagle is a heavenly being, the lion an earthly one - and Christ is the embodiment of both divine and human elements.

The main aspects of the design of the Presidential flag, as presented by the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission, were confirmed by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania on January 26, 1993 at the passing of the Law for the President of the Republic of Lithuania, and the colour standard for the flag was confirmed on February 18.

From: Edmundas Rimša, The Heraldry of Lithuania, Baltos lankos publishers, 2008.

Last updated 2015.01.05 12:28