- Papal coat of arms
For at least 800 years, each
Popehas had his own personal coat of armsthat serves as a symbol of his papacy. [ [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/elezione/stemma-benedict-xvi_en.html Coat of Arms of His Holiness Benedict XVI] Vatican. Accessed 2008-03-15.] The first Pope whose arms are known with certainty is Pope Innocent IV(1243-1254). Earlier popes were only attributed armsin the 17th century. [cite book | author=Michel Pastoreau | title=Traité d'Héraldique | edition=3e édition | publisher=Picard | year=1997 | isbn=2-7084-0520-9 | page=283-284]
All recent popes' coats of arms contained the image of the
papal tiara. Benedict XVI has altered heraldic custom and used instead the mitreand pallium(see article: Coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI). The papal coat of arms traditionally features a gold and silver key, representing the power to bind and to loose on earth (silver) and in heaven (gold). These are a reference to St Matthew's Gospel, chapter 16, verses 18-19:: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."Thus in ecclesiastical heraldry, the keys symbolise the spiritual authority of the Papacy as the Vicar of Christon Earth.
Coats of arms of Popes
"Note:Some of the images here just show the shield of the coat of arms, and not the full achievement of arms, which had the tiara."
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