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Lithuania - Presidential Flag

Last modified: 2003-07-05 by dov gutterman
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by Zeljko Heimer, 16 May 2002


See also:


The presidential flag of Lithuania is dark or brick red with the full state coat of arms in proper colors (shield plus supporters and base). Proportions are, I believe, 2:3 and the flag was adopted in 1989 or 1990.
Tom Gregg, 17 Febuary 1998

The flag of the President is to be found in the article 12 of the law nI-56 on the Office of President adopted on the 26th of January 1993:

Article 12:

The President of the Republic shall have a flag which shall be the symbol of the head of the State.

The flag of the President of the Republic shall be made of purple cloth, on both sides of which the State Emblem of Lithuania shall be in the center, held by a griffin on the right and a unicorn on the left. The width to length ratio of the flag of the President of the Republic shall be 1:1,2.

The flag of the President of the Republic of Lithuania as well as pictures thereof must always correspond to the standard picture of the colors of the flag of the President of the Republic, which shall be approved by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on the recommendation of the Heraldry Commitee of Lithuania.

The flag of the President of the Republic shall be flown over the residence of the President of the Republic when the President of the Republic is in Vilnius, or in the place where the President's summer residence is located.

The flag of the President of the Republic shall also be flown on ships or other vehicles, on or in which the President of the Republic is.

This flag was approved by the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) on the 18th of February 1993. The flag was raised for the first time over the left wing of the parliament on the 25th February when Algirdas Brazauskas was sworn as president. At that time questions were raised whether the parliament should have been concerned with the flag when other more important issues, such as the budget for 1993 had not been settled.

Note: there isn't any Greater Coat of arms for Lithuania. The State emblem, as it is called, with the two supporters appear only on the Presidential flag. The law about the State emblems describes only a "small" coat of arms.

Pascal Vagnat, 16 March 1998

I have corrected my image of the Lithuanian Presidential Flag with List input after I posted a image based on a description and drawing from Ivan. My original image was incorrectly proportioned and the background color was brick red instead of the correct purple. So here's the definitive version.
Tom Gregg, 2 August 1998


wrong colour
by Zeljko Heimer, 13 May 2002

From Album 2000 [pay00] - President of the Republic (5:6) - Purpule flag with "Greater CoA of Lithuania".
Several notes:
- on "Greater CoA" - see note by Pascal above.
- Album image has dark red field
- Tom Gregg describes also dark red field for the flag of 2:3, possibly from 1989 or 1990, but he latter retracted.
- the legislation quoted is from 1993 May it be that dark red version was used shortly in early 1990's?
Zeljko Heimer, 13 May 2002

In Corr 26 of [pie90] is also the flag of the president pictured differently - on white rectangular field. I suppose that this was only an error or maybe "default" for unknown field colour at the time, and that there was never seriously mean to claim that the presidential flag is white. Apart from this, and beforementoned square jacks, all other LT flags in corr. 26 already match those in [pay00].
Zeljko Heimer, 15 May 2002

I suspect it is the dark red version that is correct. I have wondered about the proper colour for the field of the presidential flag for some time. It is purple in Zeljko's images and purple is the term used to describe the colour in English language descriptions of the flag, as for instance in the translation of the legal text above. Now, as Antonio previously explained concerning the flag of Chuvashia, we know how difficult translations to purple can be. I suspect there is a red/purple problem for the presidential flag of Lithuania too. In the book Heraldry of Lithuania I [ris98] for instance, the presidential flag is shown illustrated in a drawing with a colour I can best describe as reddish brown or brick red. Nevertheless, the caption to the drawing says the field is purple and, to add to the confusion, in the text itself the field is described as "a purple cloth approximating red". Looking at photographs available from the president's web site, however, it appears the drawing is correct about the dark red colour of the field, see: <www.president.lt/tour/nbig1.jpg> and <nbig3.jpg>. In light of this, I would say there is a case for changing the field colour to dark red.
Jan Oskar Engene, 16 May 2002

According to the photo at <story.news.yahoo.com>, the flag is dark red and not purple.
Zach Harden, 28 Febuary 2003

Once again, there are misunderstandings of given colour names. The law says the flag is of purple cloth. Please keep in mind that only in Britain purple is violet. In central Europe purple is "Purpur", which is a bright dark red. So the shown purple (=violet) flag must be wrong. Tom Gregg writes the flag is dark or brick red and does not explain where his "brick red" comes from. In older terminology brick red (ziegelrot) was a vermillion shade of red. All (or nearly all) German flags up to 1933 were described as black, white and brick red. That colour was named after red bricks and not after brown bricks...So dark red would be clearly enough...
Ralf Stelter, 3 March 2003

From The Heraldry of Lithuania, Vol. 1, Vilnius 1998:
"The Flag of the President of the Republic of Lithuania
Description - A purple cloth, with yellow cord edging on three sides. The center of both front and back is charged with the coat of arms of the State of Lithuania. The shield is supported on the dexter side by a white griffin, on the sinister side by the white unicorn standing on a white pedestal. The griffin's beak and talons, and the unicorn's hooves and horn are golden, their tongues red. The relationship of the width of the flag to the length is 1:1.2. The staff is of natural wood and has a spear-head imprinted with the coat of arms of the State of Lithuania.
Overview - The majority of States incorporating the institution of President use flags which represent said institution. In terms of status the Presidential flag is second after the national flag, or 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 did not previously have an officially legalized Presidential flag, though there is evidence that one was used in the pre-war Republic of Lithuania. At that time the red flag bearing the mounted knight on one side and the Columns of the Gediminas family on the other, was hoisted above the Presidential Palace. This was a modification of the ancient historical State flag, approved by the Council of Lithuania in 1918.
The symbolism of the new flag for the President of the Republic of Lithuania was based on the historical State flag. However, bearing in mind that a need may arise in the future to officially legalize, alongside the national flag, a separate flag for the State of Lithuania (the red one with a silver knight), it was decided that a purple cloth approximating red should be used, and that the State coat of arms should be embellished with shield supporters on the Presidential flag. Supporters existed in Lithuanian heraldry from the time of Vytautas until the end of the 18th C. They included angels, warriors, various flora, mythological beings and other creatures. The griffin and the unicorn were chosen from a great many historical supporters for several reasons. First of all, the previously favoured angels are no longer used by secular States, and armoured warriors would make the Presidential emblematic flag appear too militaristic. Meanwhile the griffin and the unicorn are supporters for a great many European State arms and carry deep symbolic meaning.
The griffin and the unicorn have been part of Lithuanian State heraldry since the beginning of the 16th C. The griffin is a hybrid of the eagle and the lion. It symbolizes the eagle's vigilance and keen eye, and the lion's strength and pride. The mythical unicorn is similar to a colt, but has cloven hooves, a beard, and a golden spiralled horn growing out of its forehead, wherein dwells its intellect. It is a symbol of wisdom, tolerance, and innocence. In the past, both mythological beings were used not only in heraldry, but also in church life, and were favoured by astrologers and alchemists. During the 14th - 16th C., the unicorn, representing chastity, was a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the griffin was often connected with Christ. The eagle is a heavenly being, and the lion an earthly one, as Christ is the embodiment of both divine and human elements.
The main principles of the composition of the Presidential flag, as put forward 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.
Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003