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Waldensian flag

Iglesias Valdense

Last modified: 2013-11-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: waldensian flag | iglesias valdense |
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[Waldensian flag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 19 July 2007

See also:

About the flag

Mr Anton Jansen's "Vlaggen", No. 57 (1989): pp. 813-817 "Een Waldenzenvlag" (i.e. A Waldensian flag).

(AJ points out that material submitted by him to the "Vexilla Nostra" editor of that time appeared in two articles: VN-IX (1974) pp. 118-119 and VN-X (1975) pp. 57-58.) His main sources: "Waldenzen - het Israël van de Alpen" (i.e. Waldensians - Israel of the Alps), text of documentary by Evangelische Omroep tv station (aired 28 Dec. 1972 and 8 Feb. 1973), plus two books by Maria van Oostveen:
- "Henri Arnaud, leraar en veldheer der Waldenzen" (i.e. Henri Arnaud, teacher and military leader of the Waldensians), The Hague, no date, publisher J.N. Voorhoeve, ill. by author. Summary of Waldensian history given by AJ; emblem is mentioned; when coloured: yellow emblem on blue ground; motto: LUX LUCET IN TENEBRIS or The Light shines in the darkness.
- "Marguerite maakt een vlag", same place and publisher, 78 p., ill. by author (1959, jm). Marguerite, daughter of Henri Arnaud, fashions a flag for use during the flight of the persecuted Waldensians in 1687 - a diminished number of them would return to their homesteads in North Italy. Apart from the cover AJ reproduces another drawing where Henri Arnaud, kneeling, reverently holds the flag (words partly visible LUX LUCET...). In the relevant quote, the blue field is mentioned but not the emblem's colour - only that it glitters in the moonlight. (On p. 49 the stars are given a "silver-white" colour according to AJ.)

AJ, having corresponded with Miss Van Oostveen for years, mentions information received that everything she had on the Waldensians went to the Bibliothèque Wallonne, The Hague, on her death in 1979. She had tried to reconstruct the flag as well as possible which made AJ title his article "*Een* Waldenzenvlag" (and not "de" which is the definite article).

Further information received from Miss Van Oostveen confirmed the probable origin of the emblem (arms of Counts of Luserna), sometimes rendered as a star-surrounded lamp (wick) instead of a candlestick.

Finally a booklet in Italian is mentioned "Lo Stemma Valdese" translated as "Het embleem van de Waldenzen" (i.e. The emblem of the Waldensians) by Th. Balma, Tipografia Alpina, Torre Pelice, 1940.

Jan Mertens, 19 July 2007

Based on

"The morning of 17 February, at Pomaretto, near the old elementary school, the Eicolo Grando, the persons assemble who want to participate in the procession: at the head three girls in traditional clothes who carry the Italian tricolour and, in the center, the Valdese flag: the golden candlestick, with its stars in a circle, on dark blue field. Behind them comes the musical Band, at a distance, playing some marches and Valdesi traditional hymns. In the procession, respecting an unwritten tradition, the children come first, then the women in Valdese costume and at last the grown men."
Jan Mertens, 17 July 2007

Waldensia as a distinctive European nation, which is also done by the Padanian movement. They are the oldest Protestant nation in the World (1177), number presently at 30,000 in their homeland located in Valli Valdesi region of Piedmont (Italy) and in the Occitanian region of France just across the border, with the substantial diaspora in Argentina, Uruguay, US, Canada and Germany. The capital and the Church center is in Torre Pellice. Their long and complicated history of severe persecution, wars, massacres, resistance to fascism is best told by Minahan in his books and at and It can be added that since 1979 the Waldensian Church is federated with the Methodist Church of Italy, and in 2005, the present Moderator of the Waldensian Church, Maria Bonafede, visited with the Pope John Paul II and described the relations between the churches as excellent.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 24 July 2008

[Waldensian flag] image by Jaume Ollé, 24 July 2008

A variant Waldensian flag is reported in James B. Minahan's "One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups". On page 735 he states "The Waldensian Flag is a blue field with a narrow red horizontal stripe at the bottom divided from the blue by a narrow white stripe. In the center is a white candle with an oval of yellow light around the flame surrounded by seven white stars." Minahan does not cite any source for this statement. There is a grayscale image of the flag (without the narrow white stripe) on the page. Page 735 of Minahan's book is available at
Ned Smith, 17 July 2007

[Waldensian flag] image by Jaume Ollé, 24 July 2008

The flag of Waldensia (pictured with error in both Minahan's books) was reported by me and Jaume Ollé in 2005 in the Flag Bulletin. Jaume reported then another flag, which appears now on some of the Padanian-connected websites.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 24 July 2008

A similar banner is described in an account of Feb 17 celebrations in the 19th century Waldensian settlement in North Carolina US:

"This day is to the Waldenses what Fourth of July is to Americans, and is celebrated very much after the same manner, with bonfires and illuminations, processions and speech-making. Exercises appropriate to the day are held in their schools, the story of the struggles of their fathers in behalf of religious freedom retold, and the children taught to revere their memory and emulate their virtues. After these exercises the children form in procession and march through the streets of their villages, bearing the flag of the nation and the banner of the Church. The latter is a square flag imprinted with the motto, 'Lux lucet in tenebris,' underneath seven stars, the picture of an open Bible with a lighted candle resting upon it and below, the words 'Église Évangélique Vaudois.' "
-The Waldensians In America ...Demarest's Family Magazine, Oct 1895, from
Ned Smith, 18 July 2007

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