The '''double-headed eagle''' is the most recognizable symbol of Orthodoxy today (other than the cross) and was the official state symbol of the late [[Byzantine Empire]], symbolising the unity between the Byzantine Orthodox Church and State, which was governed by the principle of ''Symphonia'' or ''Synallelia'', that is, a "symphony" between the civil and the ecclesiastical functions of Christian society.
The origins of the ''Bicephalous Eagle'', some say, are from the Lascaris Emperors who had adopted this emblem from a figure hewn into the stone wall of a Hittite fortress in Asia Minor. The ''Bicephalous Eagle'' of the Second Rome, is quite distinct from the ''Augustan Eagle'' of the First Rome. It was introduced into Russia, the Third Rome, as dowry for the marriage of Sophia Palaeologos.--->
The yellow with a black crowned ''double-headed eagle'' flag, was the symbol of the Paleologues, the last Greek-speaking "Roman" (i.e. Byzantine) dynasty to rule from Constantinople. Emperor Michael VIII Paliologos recaptured Constantinople from the Crusaders in 1261, from a state based in Asia Minor; the double-headed eagle symbolized the dynasty's interests in both Asia and Europe, and was kept despite the fact that virtually all of the Asian possessions were gobbled up by the Ottomans within a generation of the recapture of the City. Michael's descendants stayed on the Byzantine throne until the City and the Empire fell to the Ottomans in 1453.
This flag had in the two centuries of Paleologan rule become identified not just with the dynasty but with the Empire itself and, more generally, with institutions and cultural ideas outside the Byzantine Empire that still remained centered on Constantinople.
Provenance of the Double- Headed Eagle ==
The following gallery shows heraldic usages of the double-headed eagle in the history of the [[Orthodox Church]], including
1) its use starting in the theocratic [[Byzantine Empire]] , followed by 2) its use by Orthodox churches today, and 3) modern secular usages by some Orthodox nations.
Image:Dikefalos Aetos.jpg|Emblem of the [[Church of Cyprus]].
Image:1684_Tomb.JPG|Double-headed eagle on a 1684 tomb at the [[Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani - Hundred Doors (Paros)]], Greece.
Empire's Big Coat of Arms. jpg|Great Coat of Arms of the [[w:Russian Empire|Russian Empire]] (1721-1917).
Image:Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.JPG|Coat of Arms of the [[w:Russia|Russian Federation]].
Image:Flag of Montenegro.JPG|Flag of [[w:Flag of Montenegro|Montenegro]]. Adopted July, 2004.
From 1497, on the double-headed eagle proclaimed a Russian sovereignty equal to that of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The first remained evidence of the double-headed eagle officialised as an emblem of Russia is on the great prince's seal, stamped in 1497 on a Charter of share and allotment of independent princes' possessions. At the same time the image of gilded double-headed eagle on red background appeared on the walls of the Palace of Facets in the Kremlin.
== Diffusion from Byzantium to
Various Usages ==
The two-headed Byzantine Eagle is currently the emblem on the Flags of the [[Church of Constantinople|Patriarchate of Constantinople]] and of [[Mount Athos]], as well as those of Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. It has also become the Coat of Arms of modern States including Serbia, Russia, Albania, and most recently Montenegro.
The historic spread of its use
occured because the nations that officially adopted Orthodox Christianity - the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire (ΡΩΜΑΝΙΑ/Romania) - as their state religion, had the right to bear the byzantine eagle on their arms if they wanted to, with the corollary that the bearing of the byzantine eagle in gold was a priviledge that only belonged to the sovereign of Constantinople.<ref>Military Photos. [http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=112459 Byzantine Army and Navy Ranks.]</ref> ''(See for example, the image of the Imperial Palaeologan eagle, above).''
Therefore, the Serbian eagle is depicted in silver. Russia also had the eagle in silver but they changed it to gold ''(probably in the 15th century after the marriage of Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow with Sophia Palaeologina, the daughter of the last Byzantine Emperor & after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans),'' to justify their claim as the "third Rome". Austria on the other hand, earned the right to bear the byzantine eagle, after the marriage of the first German Emperor Otto I in 972, with the niece of Byzantine Emperor Ioannis Tzimiskes, Theophano ''(and of course the Austrian Empire claimed to be the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans)''. They adopted the byzantine eagle, in black though, as the "shadow of the Imperial Eagle".<ref>Military Photos. [http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=112459 Byzantine Army and Navy Ranks.]</ref>.
=== Use on
Coats of Arms ===
The two-headed eagle appears on the '''coat of arms''' of the following countries<ref>Wikipedia. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_headed_eagle Double-headed eagle].</ref>:
* [[Byzantine Empire]] (historical)
* Flag of the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical Patriarchate]] of Constantinople.
* Flag of [[Mount Athos]].
* Flag of [[w:Flag of Montenegro|Montenegro]] ''(adopted July, 2004).''
== External links ==