Today, December 26, the Eastern Orthodox church celebrates the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos. Theotokos (or in Greek Θεοτόκος) means “the one who gives birth to God” or, in other words, “the mother of God”. To Christians, this would be the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ.
In honor of this celebration, we’ll review the various symbols used in heraldry to denote a special relationship with Mary or the veneration of her.
The two most common heraldic charges to symbolize Mary are the fleur-de-lys (or lilly) and the Marian cross. The former is most known for its use in French heraldry and the latter in the arms of the late Pope John Paul II.