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The coat of arms consists of: the papal tiara (as used under the pontificate of Pius XI); the two keys which represent the keys to Heaven (according to the Gospel of Matthew 16:19) given by Jesus Christ to St. Peter. The popes are regarded as the successor of Peter, and the gold and silver keys have been significant elements in the symbolism of the Papal State since the 13th century. The gold represents spiritual power, while the silver key represents worldly power. a red cord connecting the keys.
The yellow and white of the flag also refer to the keys – in heraldry yellow represents gold, while white represents silver.