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In ecclesiastical heraldry, papal coats of arms (those of individual popes) and those of the Holy See
Holy See
and Vatican City State
Vatican City State
include an image of crossed keys to represent the metaphorical keys of the office of Saint Peter, the keys of heaven, or the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, that, according to Roman Catholic teaching,[1] Jesus
Jesus
promised to Saint Peter, empowering him to take binding actions.[2] In the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
16:19, Jesus
Jesus
says to Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Saint Peter
Saint Peter
depicted (by Peter Paul Rubens) holding the Keys of Heaven.

The keys of heaven or keys of Saint Peter
Saint Peter
are seen as a symbol of papal authority: "Behold he [Peter] received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the power of binding and loosing is committed to him, the care of the whole Church and its government is given to him [cura ei totius Ecclesiae et principatus committitur (Epist., lib. V, ep. xx, in P.L., LXXVII, 745)]".[3] Saint Peter
Saint Peter
is often depicted in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox paintings and other artwork as holding a key or a set of keys. The general layout of St Peter's Basilica
St Peter's Basilica
also is roughly key-shaped; evocative of the keys entrusted to Saint Peter. Since the 16th century a symbolical pair of keys is created for every pope and buried on death with him. Bible verses associated with Peter[4][5] and his position of authority: Is. 22:20-23; Matt. 10:2; Matt. 16:18-19; Luke 22:32; John 21:17; Acts 2:14; Acts 10:46; Gal. 1:18. Bible verses associated with the transfer of powers from Pope
Pope
to Pope: Acts 1:20; 6:6; 13:3; 8:18; 9:17; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim. 1:6. See also[edit]

Catholicism portal Pope
Pope
portal

Keys of the kingdom Coats of arms of the Holy See
Holy See
and Vatican City Papal regalia and insignia Power of the Keys Primacy of Simon Peter

References[edit]

^ "The episcopal college and its head, the Pope
Pope
(para 881)". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican Archives.  ^ Mannion, Gerard; Mudge, Lewis S., eds. (30 January 2008). The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church. p. 235. ISBN 978-0415374200. (Subscription required (help)).  ^ Joyce, George (1911). "Power of the Keys". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 6 September 2017.  ^ Joyce, George (1911). "Chronological Lists of Popes". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 6 September 2017.  ^ Joyce, George (1911). "The Pope". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to: Keys of Heaven
Keys of Heaven
(category)

Catholic Answers Magazine: Peter's Authority Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(Paragraphs 880–883)

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