The image at right represents the Keys of St. Peter, an emblem of the Catholic Church which represents the divine authority invested in the apostle Peter before the death of Christ. As such, they are emblems of papal authority in the Catholic church.
A symbol that appears frequently in Christian art and in the arms of the Popes, the crossed keys were formerly an emblem of the Roman God Janus and the Mithraic Zurvan, both gods of time and keepers of doorways, and removers of obstacles.
It is this symbolism that led to the folk legend of Peter as the bureaucratic keeper of the “pearly gates”of heaven.
St. Peter receiving the Keys
Zurvan with the “Keys of Time”
The keys as an emblem of Papal authority