Obituary Dr. Zdenko G. Alexy


Dr. Zdenko G. Alexy, Michal Kováč (President of the Slovak Republik at the time), and Pope John Paul II.

Contemporary heraldry has lost one of their most important characters. In the evening of January 10, 2016, our highly esteemed colleague died in his hometown of Bratislava. He was an impressive person, scholar, politician and economics specialist. I have known Dr. Alexy for 35 years and worked with him for many years. It pains me much that he could not witness the completion of our last project together, the second volume of the Matricula Armalis – the ecclesial roll of arms he administered. The volume came out only a few days before Christmas 2015, but a copy of it did not reach him in time. The heraldic community has lost of their most recognized international specialists.


The originals of the letters patents for the Matricula Armalis are signed with the name SIDONIUS and bear the notarial seal of Notarii Episcopalis Reginae Gradecensis. SIDONIUS is an official name, the real name of the holder of the office was Dr. Sc. Zdenko G. Alexy. Dr. Alexy was not only one of the most renowned European heralds of the 20th and the beginning 21st century, but he was also a respectable person within the political landscape of his country. To appreciate his merits in detail would take up more space than we have here. Still, as editor it befits me to introduce him and his personality as the spiritus rector of the Matricula Armalis.

Zdenko G. Alexy was born in Bratislava on September 9, 1922. He finished secondary school and acquired his certificate of maturity in 1941. After that, he served in the military of the Czechoslovak army in Great Britain. The years 1945-1947 he spent as attaché at the embassy of Czechoslovakia in Berne, Switzerland. At the same time he studied at the commercial college in Bratislava and St. Gallen, Switzerland, and in 1946/1947 he graduated from University of Neuchâtel receiving the title of Dr. sc. écon. et comm. In 1947/1948, he studied history at the Universitas Carolina in Prague and worked at the same time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague up to 1949. After that, he was in leading positions at Exico Bratislava, BEZ Co. (formerly Siemens), at the foreign trade company Omnia, and at the Ministry of Finance. After the velvet revolution he was an adviser to the minister between 1989 and 1990. In the years 1990 to 2002 and up to his retirement he was the founder and the director of the Bratislava stock exchange, Chief of Protocol at the office of the President of the Slovak Republic, and a member of the supervisory board at Ludová Banka, Bratislava.

Zdenko G. Alexy had been conducting research since 1958 in the fields of heraldry and emblazonry, particularly on the subject of civic and ecclesiastical heraldry, which he enriched by important new creations. He was the designer of numerous heraldic bookplates. Between 1983 and 1985 he published a three-volume work on that subject with the title „Ex libris Armales”. His contributions in the field of heraldry appeared in numerous European specialist journals. He gave lectures at international congresses above all on the development of contemporary designs for coats of arms and flags in Slovakia. From 1978 onwards, he had also been involved in the study of order-like pectoral badges of church dignitaries. His research into such artefacts is reflected in the book „Distinctive Ensigns of Chapters in Formerly Habsburg Dominated Countries“. It presents a long-neglected aspect of phaleristic art in Central Europe.

He was a member of many international expert panels. To mention a few: Member of the International Heraldry Academy, Member of the Heraldic Commission of the Slovak Ministry of Interior, Vice-President of the Slovak Genealogy a Heraldry Society, corresponding member of the society „Adler“ in Vienna and the society „Herold“ in Berlin, and Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Heraldry.

In 1979, Dr. Alexy was appointed episcopal notary. Despite his many professional obligations he fulfilled not only this function, but also acted tirelessly as a consultant in the field of local and ecclesiastical heraldry. Hundreds of family crests have been recorded in the notarial registers, traditionally blazoned in Latin and just as in Guttenberg’s time printed letter for letter on hand-made paper with a hand-painted coat of arms illustration.

We owe Dr. Alexy two volumes of the MATRICULA ARMALIS and, thus, forty years of active and interdenominational registration work in the spirit of vivid heraldry.

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