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Penza Region (Russia)

Penzenskaâ oblasth

Last modified: 2022-12-31 by valentin poposki
Keywords: penza | face | jesus | veronica | icon | ivan 1 (russia) | kulikovo | golden horde | nerukotvornĭ |
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Пензенская область

Penza Region flag image by Tomislav Šipek, 23 February 2020
See also: Other sites:

Presentation of Penza Region

(Note: You need an Unicode-aware software and font to correctly 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 new flag of Penza Region is described at The regional law “On the Flag of the Penza Region” was adopted by the Legislative Assembly on April 15, 2022, and came into force on 1 June 2022. According to the press center of the government of the Penza region, the flag of the Penza region is now a rectangular panel of green and yellow stripes with a multi-color image of the coat of arms of the Penza region with three golden sheaves. The green color on the flag symbolizes health and life growth, red - life-affirming strength, courage, celebration, beauty and work, and yellow - respect and intelligence, wealth and stability, light and spirituality. The regional government added that the former flag with the image of the Savior Not Made by Hands from June 1, 2022 acquires the status of the standard of the head of the Penza region.
Paraskevas Renesis, 4 August 2022

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

Flag of the Governor

Penza Region flag image by Tomislav Šipek, 23 February 2020

According to:
Penza oblast has a new flag since June 1, 2022. The previous flag is now the flag of the Governor.
Paraskevas Renesis, 4 August 2022

This flag proposal [previously used as flag of the region] was introduced by chairman Victor Lazutkin. The flag is golden yellow with a vertical green (grassy) stripe along the hoist. In the center of flag the symbolic image of Saviour Nerukotvorny is located. As explained in the project, the green color symbolizes nature in the 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 represents 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 wept 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

Photos of the flag can be seen at
Tomislav Šipek, 23 February 2020