Saturday, December 18, 2010

Russian Fraternal Twin Flags: pt 17

Kalmykia & Yaroslavl

Flag of Yaroslavl

The Russian Province of Yaroslavl and the Russian Republic of Kalmykia are united by a yellow background with a central charge. It is a union of the proverbial Russian Bear with the Buddhist Lotus.

The bear is the international symbol of Russia, while the bear with the axe is the symbol of Yaroslavl Province. The lotus flower is the cosmic symbol of one who has reached enlightenment, while the lotus flower on blue disc with a yellow background is the symbol of a Russian Federal Subject.

Yaroslavl Province is named after Yaroslavl the Wise. He was the last Grand Prince of the Rus before the 1054 millennial split of the European Church into the Eastern Church of Constantinople and Western Church of Rome. Since then the 'Catholic' Christian church has been split into two noble and competing congregations - like a chess set. Yaroslavl the wise died in 1054.

The bear on Yaroslavl's flag is a reminder of Yaroslavl the Wise's Christian conversion and founding of the Yaroslavl city in 1010. The story goes like this, the local inhabitants let loose a bear to kill Yaroslavl the Wise - instead he killed the wild bear himself and founded the city of Yaroslavl. Thus this year 2010 is the 1000th anniversary of this Yaroslavl City.

On the other hand we have the Republic of Kalmykia. Kalmykia is Europe's only dominantly Buddhist Nation, although a nation within a nation. The Buddhist Kalmyks came to Europe at about the same time New England was settled by the English in the 1620s.

Flag of Kalmykia

The flower on Kalmykia's flag is the Lotus Flower. This flower has a Yin and Yang essence. The lotus flower can bloom in the murkiest of mud with a grace and enchanting beauty. It reminds us that the divine exists even in the lowliest, murkiest, and least likeliest of places.

The pairing of Kalmykia and Yaroslavl is a meeting of East and West. The people of Kalmykia are of the Hindu-Buddeic tradition while the people of Yaroslavl are of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Just as Russians colonized East Asia, a portion of East Asia colonized European Russia. Kalmykia people speak a language related to Mongolian and share a physical appearance as 'Chinese.'

Of famous people from Yaroslavl is the first woman to go into space - Valentina Tereshkova. Ms. Tereshkova was the first woman launched into space in 1963. Just as Russia has a 'minor' essence of Buddhism so to did Vladimir Lenin, who had Kalmyk heritage.

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