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Penza Region (Russia)

Penzenskaâ oblasth

Last modified: 2014-06-01 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: penza | face | jesus | veronica | icon | ivan 1 (russia) | kulikovo | golden horde | nerukotvornĭ |
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Пензенская область

Penza Region flag
image by Mello Luchtenberg, 17 Nov 2002
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Presentation of Penza Region

(Note: You need an Unicode-aware software and font to correctely view the cyrillic text on this page. See here transliteration details).

  • Name (english): Penza Region • (russian): Пензенская область | Penzenskaâ oblasth
  • Capital: Пенза | Penza
  • Area: 43 200 km2 (≅16 700 sq.mi.) • Population: 1 517 400 inhabitants in 2000
  • Status: Region (область | oblasth) within the Russian Federation
  • Federal District: Central Region • Economic region: Volga
  • License plate code: 58 • Ham radio code: PE • ISO 3166-2 code: PNZ
  • Flag adopted on 2002.11.15 • Coat of arms adopted on unkn. date

About the flag

The flag proposal was introduced by chairman Victor Lazutkin. The flag is rectangular with one vertical and one horizontal of the stripes: vertical is green (grassy) color, horizontal is yellow (golden) of colors. In the center of flag the symbolic image of Saviour Nerukotvorny is located. As it is explained in the project, green color symbolizes nature of region, its forests, and also fertility, eternal life and health. Yellow symbolizes fields, wisdom, knowledge, light, abundant crops, prospect. The symbolic image of Saviour Nerukotvorny symbolizes spirituality, unity, national revival. Under such banners with Saviour Nerukotvorny’s image Russian troops struggled in Kulikovo field, in the Crimea and in Livonia, and Yermak under this flag mastered Siberia. Arrangement on the flag of the symbolic means of Saviour developers connect also with the nationwide status of the christian holidays noted in Penza region — honey, apple and bread Saviours, who fall at the end of the summer.
Mark Sensen, 17 Nov 2002, translating from

It is almost an exact replica of the icon which used to adorn the Church of Spas. The exact details of the flag remain to be worked out. A prototype is on public view in a Penza museum.
Phil Nelson, 09 Jan 2003, quoting from DeSoto Times

The design includes an unmistakable soviet element — the vertical bar at the hoist, also used in many other Russian subnational flags.
António Martins, 12 Jan 2003

At 58region.Ru there is a photo of the flag and when you click on it you see a bigger photo of it. You can also click on the text under the flag in the upper left corner, there is an explanation (all in russian) about the flag. If I’m correct than the ratio is 5:8.
Mello Luchtenberg, 17 Nov 2002

For some reason the proposal is to center the face on the flag, not on the golden field. The website 58region.RU says that this flag is only a proposal, to be considered by the Legislative Assembly during its current session. But the heraldry site Geraldika.RU, gives the date of adoption as 15 November 2002, two days after the opening of the session.
John Ayer, 18 Nov 2002

The head represent the Holy Face and the banner with this head was shown in the war of Kulikovo Pole in 1380. It is black or purple, historians don’t agree on the color.
Arnaud Leroy, 18 Nov 2002

The icon on which this image is based is from the late XII-early XIII centuries, and is preserved in the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow). "Нерукотворный" means "not made by hands", that is, a miraculous image, like that of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Such images enjoy great prestige in the Russian Orthodox Church, as I understand.
John Ayer, 18 Nov 2002

Having tried to learn something about Orthodox iconography a few years back, I believe that any given "Нерукотворный" icon is not necessarily "not made by hands" but that the original pattern of the icon — in Latin the "vera icon" which is of course an anagram of "Veronica" [as in St. Veronica, who is said to have weapt Jesus’ face in the Via Sacra; the towel was miraculously imprinted with the Saviour’s likeness] — was not made by hands. So in this case, at least, the fact that there are many such icons is not absurd on the face of it (no pun intended).
Joe McMillan, 19 Nov 2002

In 1380 the realm of the Golden Horde was threatened by internal strife between throne pretenders. One of them was Mamai, who was met by a host of Muscovy warriors, led by Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich. After a fierce battle (not war) the Muscovites prevailed on the field of Kulikovo — Куликово Поле, now in the southeast of Tula oblast, Russia. The victory gained Dmitrii the epithet "Donskoi", "of the Don". Actually it seems that the place is not exactly known: Mamai and Dmitrii met «beyond the Don River» (Задонщина, title of a famous epic.)
Jarig Bakker, 18 Nov 2002,
quoting Charles J. Halperin (1985): Russia and the Golden Horde

According to the legend, Ivan the Terrible stopped in Penza on a journey through central Russia and promised to present an icon of Jesus on his way back. Although Ivan took a different route back, one of his aides presented the promised icon to the locals
John Ayer, 12 Dec 2002, translating from The Moscow Times

The face of Christ is a symbolic void. Want to go christian on the flag? Put a cross on it, for crying out loud!
Jorge Candeias, 13 Jan 2003

About the coat of arms

Penza CoA
image by António Martins, 24 Jan 2003

The traditional Penza coat of arms is completely unrelated to the flag.
António Martins, 21 Jan 2003

It is vert, three bundles of wheat Or on a ground of the first.  Blue colour for the back ground is a common mistake.
Victor Lomantsov, 21 Jan 2003

Previous, unofficial designs

Garbs on tricolor

Penza reg. proj.1
image by António Martins and Pascal Gross, 21 Jan 2003

At Regnum.RU there’s a text about the adoption of the flag of Penza oblast. Nothing is official but the version of 3 horizontal stripes of yellow, green and red (the green stripe being larger than the 2 others) with the 3 garbs from the arms on the green stripe seems to have good chances to be adopted.
Pascal Gross, 07 Oct 2002

Garbs on green

Penza reg. proj.2
image by António Martins and Pascal Gross, 21 Jan 2003

Another variant [mentioned at Regnum.RU] would be a green flag with the 3 garbs in the center.
Pascal Gross, 07 Oct 2002

This one is therefore a banner of the arms.
António Martins, 24 Jan 2003

Anything below this line was not added by the editor of this page.