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Coat of Arms

Vilniaus herbasThe city’s coat-of arms represent St. Christopher wading through water and carrying the baby Jesus on his shoulders. The city was conferred the coat-of-arms in 1330.

In the Greek language ‘St. Christopher’ means “Christbearer”. He is thought to have lived in the 3rd century. Legend states that St. Christopher was sentenced to death by Emperor Decius for spreading Christianity in Lycia and died a martyr’s death. Having accepted Christ through baptism, St Christopher remained faithful to him though he had to sacrifice his life for his Christian faith.

According to the Golden Legend, Christopher wanted to serve the Almighty and looked for him everywhere. Finally a saint hermit told him that Christopher could serve Christ by carrying travellers across a rapid river in flood, and then Christ might appear to him. Christopher did so. One night a small boy woke him up and asked Christopher to carry him across a river. Christopher set the boy on his shoulders and started wading. A storm broke, the child was becoming heavier and heavier, and they nearly drowned. Having carried the child to safety across the river and placed him on the other side, Christopher asked the boy who he was. The boy answered that he was Christ who carried misfortunes of the entire world in his hands.

Lithuanian folk art represents St. Christopher wading through the water, leaning upon a stick, carrying the baby Christ, who is blessing people with one hand and holding the globe in the other, on his shoulders.