The double-headed eagle is the most recognizable symbol of orthodoxy (other than the cross) of the Byzantine Empire and the church today, especially for the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Church of Greece and the Church of Russia. The double-headed eagle is not always the same and each representation is often confused for another. For example, the heads of the eagles can represent the dual sovereignity of the Byzantine Emperor; the left head representing Rome (the West) and the right head representing Constantinople (the East) whilst the claws of the eagle may hold a cross or a sword and an orb.
Church of Greece flag
The modern double-headed eagle flag for the Greek Orthodox Church, features the double-headed eagle with a sword in the right claw and an orb in the left. Above the eagle, is a crown and the background colour of the flag is yellow.
Church of Russia emblem
Examples of double-headed eagle
The following gallery, shows examples of the double-headed eagle in the history of the church.
- Byzantine eagle.JPG
Byzantine Empire emblem in front of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Double-headed eagle on a 1684 tomb at the Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani - Hundred Doors (Paros)