Law 851
(Gov. Gazette 233, issue A, dated 21/22.12.1978)


The national flag of Greece consists of nine horizontal stripes of equal width, five blue and four white, alternately, the first and last stripes being blue. In the upper left corner is a blue square, which occupies the first five stripes and inside which is a white cross. The flag is hung on a white flagstaff at the top of which there is (on certain occasions) a white cross.

The design and colours (blue and white) of the national flag were laid down in January of 1822 at the first National Assembly at Epidauros. On 15 March of the same year the Executive Body (the Government), which had taken over the interim administration of Greece, specified by Decree 540 three types of flag: one land flag and two marine flags, one of which was for the navy and the other for the merchant marine.

The land flag was square in shape, and had a white cross on a blue background. The marine flags resembled today's national flag. The only difference in the flag of the merchant marine was the reversal of colors in the corner where the cross was (a blue cross on a white background). The flag of the merchant ships was ranked with that of the navy in 1828, when it was recognized that merchant ships had taken part in the war of independence as war-ships.

The national flag has been modified several times since then, mainly as a result of regime changes, without being radically altered. In 1833 the Bavarian coat of arms was added to the flags of the army and the navy and remained until the overthrow of King Otto in October of 1862. With the arrival of King George I in 1863 the crown was introduced into the flags of the above forces and remained there until the regime change in 1924.

From 1864 onwards the flag of the infantry regiments was made of silk with a gold fringe all round and had a picture of their patron saint, Saint George, in the center of the white cross.

The war flags today are, for the navy the national flag, and for the army and the air force a rectangular flag consisting of a white cross on a blue background, the cross dividing the flag into four equal parts. In the center of the cross, the flag of the army bears a picture of Saint George, while the flag of the air force bears a picture of the Archangel Michael.