I used to be scandalized by the tricolor bookmark ribbons in most Romanian liturgical books. And the Greek flags hanging around Greek churches, even on Mount Athos. Then I saw that the Ethiopians sometimes have their tricolor around icons/liturgical items. The OO Arameans and Assyrians also mix their religious and national symbols. The Byzantine double-headed eagle is on the rug all our bishops stand on (the orlets/aetos). In the litanies we pray for "our pious nation" (to eusebes hemon genos), the political leaders (monarch, president, mayors, etc.), the army; at the Great Entrance the "heroes who died for our freedom and the faith of our ancestors" are commemorated. Surely, the line between a legitimate liturgical patriotism and ethnophyletism is easy to cross, but there must be one somewhere.
I think the key is in the word "pious". We pray for pious kings, our pious nation, etc. What is appropriate in Church is the Christianization of our nation, not the nationalism-isation of our Christianity.
Precisely. There is no problem with bookmarks in the national colors, nor in praying liturgically and privately for the nation and its rulers. They are simply decorations and embellishments.
What is offensive about the tricolor forming the yarn on the Mother of God's spindle is that a national symbol is used in place of a motif which represents the Incarnation, God's taking of flesh and blood from the Virgin to become Man. In effect, the blood of Christ, derived from His Mother, becomes the national flag.
Is this travesty so difficult for some here to comprehend?