Saint symbolism

Christianity has used symbolism from its very beginnings.[1] Each saint has a story and a reason why they led an exemplary life. Symbols have been used to tell these stories throughout the history of the Church.[2] A number of Christian saints are traditionally represented by a symbol or iconic motif associated with their life, termed an attribute or emblem, in order to identify them. The study of these forms part of iconography in art history.[3] They were particularly used so that the illiterate could recognize a scene, and to give each of the Saints something of a personality in art.[2] They are often carried in the hand by the Saint.

Attributes often vary with either time or geography, especially between Eastern Christianity and the West. Orthodox images more often contained inscriptions with the names of saints, so the Eastern repertoire of attributes is generally smaller than the Western. Many of the most prominent saints, like Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist can also be recognised by a distinctive facial type – as can Christ. In the case of later saints their actual historical appearance can also be used; Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444) is one of the earliest whose distinctive appearance was well-known from early prints and is nearly always used by artists. Some attributes are general, such as the palm frond carried by martyrs.[4] The use of a symbol in a work of art depicting a Saint reminds people who is being shown and of their story. The following is a list of some of these attributes.

Saints withtheiremblems
Dutch Book of Prayers from the mid-fifteenth century. Group of five saints. From left to right, Saint Joseph, Saint James the Great, Saint Eligius, Saint Hermes, and Saint Ghislain, with their emblems.

Four Evangelists

The symbols of the four Evangelists are here depicted in the Book of Kells. The four winged creatures symbolize, clockwise from top left, Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke.
Saint Symbol[5]
Matthew the Evangelist man
Mark the Evangelist lion
Luke the Evangelist calf
John the Evangelist eagle

The Apostles

Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles by Constantinople master (early 14th c., Pushkin museum)

The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles. Russian, 14th century, Moscow Museum.


The key as symbol of St. Peter

Stained glass window ca. 1900 showing flaying knife, symbol of St. Bartholomew

Stained glass window showing flaying knife, symbol of St. Bartholomew

Shield with symbol of St. James the Great, Church of the Good Shepherd (Rosemont, Pennsylvania)

Scallop Shells, St. James the Great

Saint Symbol
Andrew saltire[a]
Bartholomew the Apostle knife, human skin[a]
James, son of Zebedee pilgrim's staff, scallop shell, key, sword, pilgrim's hat, astride a white charger, Cross of Saint James[a]
James, son of Alphaeus / James the Just square rule, halberd, club, saw[a]
John book, a serpent in a chalice, cauldron, eagle[a]
Jude sword, square rule, club, ship[a]
Judas Iscariot thirty pieces of silver[a]
Matthew angel[a]
Peter Keys of Heaven, boat, fish, rooster, pallium, papal vestments; man crucified head downwards on an inverted cross, vested as an Apostle, holding a book or scroll. Iconographically, he is depicted with a bushy white beard and white hair, and wearing a blue robe and yellow mantle.[a]
Philip column; elderly bearded saint and open to God man, holding a basket of loaves and a Tau Cross[a]
Simon boat; cross and saw; fish (or two fishes); lance; man being sawn in two longitudinally; oar[a]
Thomas the twin, placing his finger in the side of Christ, axe, spear (means of martyrdom), square (his profession, a builder)[a]

Mary, mother of Jesus

Angelico, madonna col bambino, pinacoteca sabauda

A traditional depiction of Maryby Fra Angelico wearing blue clothes

Mary is often portrayed wearing blue. Her attributes include a blue mantle, crown of 12 stars, pregnant woman, woman with child, woman trampling serpent, crescent moon, woman clothed with the sun, heart pierced by sword, Madonna lily, roses, and rosary beads.[6]

Saint Symbol
Our Lady of Sorrows Mary in mournful state, tears, bleeding heart pierced by seven daggers[b]
Queen of Heaven Mary with a crown of stars, flowers[a]

Saints listed by name


Santo António com o Menino - Escola Portuguesa, séc. XVIII

Anthony of Padua with the Child Jesus, a book, and a lily

Saint Symbol
Acathius of Melitene crown of thorns[a]
Adalbert spears[7]
Agatha of Sicily tongs or shears, veil, bells, two breasts on a plate[a]
Agnes lamb[a]
Alfege of Canterbury axe[a]
Alfred the Great codex, crown, orb/scepter[a]
Ambrose bees, beehive, dove, ox, pen[a]
Anne, grandmother of Jesus door, book[a], with the Virgin Mary reading, red robe and green mantle[8]
Anthony the Great monk's habit, bell, pig, T-shaped cross[a]
Anthony of Padua Child Jesus, bread, book, lily[a]
Athanasius of Alexandria bishop arguing with a pagan, bishop holding an open book, bishop standing over a defeated heretic[a]
Augustine of Hippo dove, child, shell, pen, book[a]


Olive branch

Olive branch


priest celebrating Mass on board a ship while fish gather to listen

Saint Symbol
Barbara tower, chalice, ciborium, cannon[a]
Barnabas pilgrim's staff, olive branch[a]
Benedict broken cup, raven, bell, crosier, bush[a]
Benno of Meissen fish with keys in its mouth, book[a]
Bernard of Clairvaux pen, bees, instruments of the Passion[a]
Bernardino of Siena tablet or sun inscribed with IHS, three mitres[a]
Blaise wax, taper (candle), iron comb[a]
Bonaventure communion, ciborium, cardinal's hat[a]
Boniface oak, axe, book, fox, scourge, fountain, raven, sword[a]
Brendan the Navigator whale; priest celebrating Mass on board a ship while fish gather to listen; one of a group of monks in a small boat [a]
Bridget of Sweden book, pilgrim's staff[a]
Brigid of Kildare cow, crosier, Brigid's cross[a]


Catz shield

The college shield of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, prominently depicting a Catherine wheel.

Saint Corbinian00

Corbinian with saddled bear

Saint Symbol
Casimir of Poland and Lithuania royal attire of crown and red robe lined with ermine, lily, cross, rosary; sometimes two right hands[a]
Catherine of Alexandria wheel, crown, sword, book[a]
Catherine of Ricci ring, crown, crucifix[a]
Catherine of Siena stigmata, cross, ring, lily[a]
Cecilia organ[a]
Cerbonius geese[a]
Charles Borromeo cardinal's robes, communion[a]
Christopher giant crudely dressed, torrent, tree, branch or large staff, carrying the Child Jesus on shoulder[a]
Clare of Assisi monstrance[a]
Clare of Montefalco cross[a]
Clement anchor, fish,[a] Mariner's Cross[b]
Corbinian saddled bear{[9]
Saints Cosmas and Damian a phial, box of ointment[a]
Saints Crispin and Crispinian shoes, millstones[a]
Cyriacus deacon's vestments[a]


Chartres Saint-Aignan805

Man with lions

Dlijia San Genesio sanc sot ala porica 2

Dog with a torch

Santa Dorotea (Zurbarán)

Dorothy with flowers and apples

Saint Symbol
Daniel lion[a]
David of Scotland king with sword or sceptre[a]
David of Wales dove[a]
Demetrius Depicted wearing the armor of a Roman soldier, usually carrying a spear, often seated on a red horse[a]
Denis head in hands[a]
Dominic rosary[a] , star, dog with a torch[10]
Dominic de la Calzada hen and rooster, monastic habit, prayer beads, shepherd's crook[b]
Dorothea of Caesarea flowers, fruits[11]
Dunstan hammer, tongs[a]
Dymphna crown, sword, lily, lamp, princess with a fettered devil at her feet[a]



Monk on horseback

Saint Symbol
Earconwald bishop travelling in a chariot[a]
Edmund the Martyr quiver of arrows[a]
Edward the Confessor king crowned with a nimbus and holding a sceptre[a]
Saint Eligius bishop portrayed with a crosier in his right hand, on the open palm of his left a miniature church of chased gold; with a hammer, anvil, and horseshoe; or with a horse[a]
Elijah cave[a]
Elisabeth of Hungary alms, flowers, bread, the poor, pitcher[a]
Emeric sword, lily[7]
Emilianus monk on horseback[a]
Elizabeth of Aragon crown[a]
Erasmus of Formiae windlass[a]
Eric of Sweden king being martyred at mass[a]
Eustace hunting clothes, stag, bull, crucifix, horn, oven[a]


The Miracle of Saint Francis Xavier and the Crab (crop)

Crab with crucifix

Saint Symbol
Faith Shield of the Trinity[a]
Felix of Burgundy anchor[a]
Fiacre spade, basket of vegetables[a]
Florian Cross of Saint Florian; Roman officer or soldier; pitcher of water; pouring water over fire[12]
Florinus of Remüs bottle, glass of wine[a]
Fourteen Holy Helpers Saints Acacius, Barbara, Blaise, Christopher, Cyriacus, Catherine of Alexandria, Denis, Erasmus of Formiae, Eustace, George, Giles, Margaret of Antioch, Pantaleon, and Vitus, shown as a group.[b]
Francis of Assisi wolf, birds, fish, skull, stigmata[a]
Francis Xavier crucifix, bell, vessel, crab with a cross[a]


Arcangel San Gabriel

Archangel with lily

Barcelona - Iglesia de Sant Jaume (Sant Genis)

Man with theatrical mask

Saint Symbol
Gabriel Archangel;[13] Clothed in blue or white garments;[14] Carrying a lily,[14][15] a trumpet,[14] a shining lantern,[14] a branch from Paradise,[14] a scroll,[15] and a scepter.[15], scroll stating "Ave Maria Gratia Plena"[a]
Gall an abbot blessing a bear that brings him a log of wood; may be shown holding a hermit's tau staff with the bear or carrying a loaf and a pilgrim's staff.<[16]
Genesius theatre mask[a]
Genevieve lit candle, bread, keys, herd, cattle[a]
George dragon, soldier or knight in armour, often on white horse, especially in the East, Cross of Saint George[a]
Gerard of Csanád Bishop being killed by a spear[a]
Gertrude of Nivelles crown, tapir, lily, mouse[a]
Gervasius and Protasius the scourge, the club and the sword[b]
Giles Benedictine habit, hind[a]
Godelieve crown, well, woman being strangled[b]
Gotthard of Hildesheim dragon; model of a church[17]
Gregory the Great papal tiara, crosier, dove (often portrayed at his ear)[a]


Statue moulin providence

Man with baker's peel

A "fiddleback" chasuble from the church of Saint Gertrude in Maarheeze in the Netherlands

A "fiddleback" chasuble from the church of Saint Gertrude in Maarheeze in the Netherlands

Saint Symbol
Helena wearing a royal crown while supporting a cross[a]
Hermann Joseph kneeling before a statue of the Virgin and Child and offering an apple[a]
Hermenegild axe, crown, sword, and cross [b]
Hilary of Poitiers episcopal vestments, a mitre and crozier, and a beard, usually white and often long[b]
Hippolytus of Rome papal tiara[a]
Hippolytus the soldier military garb, horse's harness[a]
Honoratus of Amiens baker's peel or shovel; bishop with a large Host; bishop with three Hosts on a baker's shovel; loaves[a]
Hugh of Lincoln swan[a]
Humility dressed as a nun [a]
Hyacinth of Poland statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Monstrance or Ciborium [b]


Isidore of Seville symbol

Symbol for Isidore of Seville: beehive, crozier and quill

Ignatius of Antiochie, poss. by Johann Apakass (17th c., Pushkin museum)

A bishop surrounded by lions


IHS monogram of the name of Jesus

Saint Symbol
Ignatius of Antioch a bishop surrounded by lions or in chains[a]
Ignatius of Loyola Eucharist, chasuble with Jesuit-style collar, book often inscribed with "Ad majorem Dei gloriam", or the letters AMDG, the letters "ihs" with a cross across the h (traditionally with three nails below the letters, and the letters and nails surrounded by the sun's rays), sword, cross.[a]
Imerius of Immertal hermit's garb and bird of prey[a]
Irene of Tomar palm of martyrdom[a]
Isidore the Laborer Portrayed as a peasant holding a sickle and a sheaf of corn, a sickle and staff; as an angel plows for him; or with an angel and white oxen near him. In Spanish art, his emblems are a spade or a plough.[18]
Isaiah An old man with gray hair and beard holding a scroll with words from Isaiah 7:14, ‹See Tfd›(in Latin) ecce virgo concipiet et pariet filium et vocabitur nomen eius Emmanuel, "behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be Emmanuel[b]
Isidore of Seville bees, pen, book[a]
Ivo of Kermartin depicted as a lawyer, holding a document, in legal dress.[a]


Thaddeus mosaic

An axe, the symbol of the martyrdom of Judas Thaddeus and other saints


Juan Diego, wearing a tilmàtli

Saint Symbol
Jerome lion, cardinal clothing, cross, skull, books and writing material, stone in hand[a]
Joan of Arc shield, Cross of Lorraine[a]
Saint Joanna lamb[a]
John Berchmans Rule of Saint Ignatius, cross, rosary[a]
John Chrysostom bees, dove, pen[a]
John of God alms, heart, crown of thorns[a]
John the Baptist lamb, head on a platter, animal skin (the camel-skin coat of the Gospels), pointing at Christ or a lamb, often portrayed carrying a long crudely made cross[a]
Joseph of Anchieta Gospel book, crucifix and Walking stick[a]
Joseph, spouse of Mary Child Jesus, lily, rod, plane, carpentry square, purple robe and brown mantle[a]
Juan Diego tilmàtli[a]
Justin Martyr axe, sword[a]
Justina of Padua palm frond, knife, unicorn[a]
Juthwara round soft cheese[a]



Pilgrim monk with a rope in his hand

Saint Symbol
Kateri Tekakwitha turtle, lily[a][b]
Katharine Drexel woman dressed as a nun[a]
Kentigern bishop with a robin on his shoulder; holding a bell and a fish with a ring in its mouth[19]
Kevin of Glendalough blackbird[a]
Kilian wearing a bishop's mitre and wielding a sword[a]
Kinga of Poland depicted as an abbess; crown[a]
Kjeld of Viborg Priest with book[a]
Knut of Denmark Nordic king with royal insignia, dagger, lance or arrow.[a]
Koloman pilgrim monk with a rope in his hand; depicted being hanged on a gibbet; tongs and rod; priest with a book and maniple[b]


Saint Lucy by Domenico di Pace Beccafumi

Eyes on a plate

Saint Symbol
Lambert of Maastricht palm of martyrdom[a], sword[b]
Lawrence of Rome cross, Gospel Book, gridiron, palm frond, purse of money, attired as a deacon in a dalmatic, accompanied by a group of poor people.[b]
Leander of Seville pen[a]
Leonard of Noblac lock, chain, manacles or fetters[b]
Liborius of Le Mans pebbles, peacock[b]
Longinus Military attire, lance[b]
Louis IX of France royal attire of crown and blue robe decorated with golden fleur-de-lis, crown of thorns, nails[b]
Louis Bertrand a chalice containing a snake [b]
Louis of Toulouse silk gloves and a richly embroidered cape with a jeweled clasp at the neck[b]
Lucy cord, eyes on a dish, lamp[a]


Saint Symbol
Margaret of Scotland reading[a]
Margaret the Virgin dragon in chains[a]
Maria Goretti fourteen lilies; farmer's clothing; (occasionally) a knife[a]
Martha aspergillum, dragon[a]
Martin of Tours goose; sharing cloak with beggar[a]
Martin de Porres broom, a cat, dog and a mouse eating from the same plate[7]
Mary Magdalene jar of ointment, red egg[a]
Matilda purse, alms[a]
Maurice soldier in armour, banner with red cross[a]
Maurus scales, spade, crutch[a]
Menas of Crete two camels[a]
Michael scales, banner, sword, dragon[a]
Monica girdle, tears[a]


Weather cock atop St Nicholas church, Worcester - - 1607248

Rooster atop St Nicholas church

Saint Symbol
Neot fish[a]
Nicholas three purses or balls, anchor, boat, child[a]
Nicholas of Tolentino Augustinian holding a bird on a plate in the right hand and a crucifix on the other hand; holding a basket of bread, giving bread to a sick person; holding a lily or a crucifix garlanded with lilies; with a star above him or on his breast[b]
Nicolás Factor Franciscan habit, skull, fire [b]
Pope Nicholas I rooster[20]
Ninian Bell of St. Ninian[a]
Norbert of Xanten monstrance, cross with two beams[a]


Torshälla vapen

king with axe in a viking boat

Alsace Mont Sainte-Odile 24

Woman with larkspur

Saint Symbol
Obadiah Prophet with his index finger of his right hand pointing upward[b]
Oda of Scotland depicted wearing a long blue gown with one shoulder bare; usually carries a staff or a book; always shown with a magpie on her hand and a crown under her feet[a]
Odile of Alsace Abbess praying before an altar; woman with a book on which lie two eyes; larkspur[b]
Olaf of Norway axe in Norway's coat of arms, king with axe in a viking boat[a]
Onuphrius old hermit dressed only in long hair and a loincloth of leaves; hermit with an angel bringing him the Eucharist or bread; hermit with a crown at his feet
Opportuna of Montreuil depicted carrying an abbess's crozier and a casket of relics. She may also be shown with the Virgin appearing at her deathbed or as a princess with a basket of cherries and a fleur-de-lys[21]
Osgyth represented in art with a stag behind her and a long key hanging from her girdle, or otherwise carrying a key and a sword crossed, a device which commemorates St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Andrew[22]


Baptismal Font Magdeburg

Baptismal font in Magdeburg Cathedral

Saint Symbol
Pancras sword, palm branch[a]
Pantaleon nailed hands[a]
Patrick cross, harp, serpent, baptismal font, demons, shamrock[a]
Paul the Apostle sword, book or scroll, horse; long, pointed beard, and balding backwards from forehead. Green robe, red mantle.[a]
Peter of Saint Joseph de Betancur Bell, Franciscan habit and spear canary pastor.[a]
Saint Peter of Verona Dominican with a hatchet in his head or a severe head wound; or writing the words "Credo in unum Deum" as he dies[a]
Petronilla set of keys, dolphin[a]
Philip Neri lily[a]
Philomena anchor, palm, arrows[a]


Buste de saint quentin

Young man with two spits

DEU Roetgen COA

The arms of Roetgen showing the symbol of Quirinus, the patron saint of Rott, who killed a dragon with a crossed-spear

Saint Symbol
Quentin depicted as a young man with two spits; as a deacon; with a broken wheel; with a chair to which he is transfixed; with a sword; or beheaded, a dove flying from his severed head[a]
Quiricus depicted as a naked child riding on a wild boar[a]
Quirinus of Malmedy dragon[23]
Quirinus of Neuss military attire; knight with lance, sword, hawk; banner or sign with nine balls[a]
Quirinus of Sescia millstone hanging from his neck[b]
Quiteria depicted with a dog on a lead; depicted with her head in her hands, emerging from the sea.[a]


Ribalta-san roque

dog with bread, leg wound

Sainte Rita église de Poggio

Forehead wound

Saint Symbol
Raphael fish[b]
Raymond Nonnatus A Mercedarian friar wearing a cardinal's red mozzetta, holding a monstrance and a martyr's palm branch [b]
Raymond of Penyafort skimming across the sea with his cape as both boat and sail[b]
Remigius dove, book, lamp[b]
Reparata Standing alone or near St. Mary, bearing a martyr's crown and palm; a dove; a banner with a red cross on a white field; sometimes depicted with St. Ansanus[24]
Richard bishop with overturned chalice[a]
Rita of Cascia roses, roses and figs, crucifix, thorn, sometimes with a wound in her forehead[a]
Roch angel, dog with bread, leg wound, pilgrim's dress[a]
Rosalia of Palermo Depicted as a young woman, sometimes holding a cross, book, or skull, and also a spray of lilies[b]
Rose of Lima crown of thorns, anchor, city, roses, crown of roses[a]
Rufina and Justa A model of the Giralda; earthenware pots, bowls and platters; books on which are two lumps of potter's clay; palm of martyrdom; lion[b]



St. Stephen the Martyr depicted with three stones and the martyr's palm

Fiery furnace 01

Fiery furnace

Saint Symbol
Sativola scythe, well[a]
Sava of Serbia book[a]
Sebastian arrows, crown[a]
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fiery furnace[b]
Spyridon of Corfu bishop with Gospel; long, pointed beard, and wearing a shepherd's hat[a]
Stanislaus of Szczepanów sword[a]
Stanisław Kazimierczyk Priest's attire[a]
Stephen the Martyr stone(s)[a]
Stephen of Hungary royal attire of crown and robes, and holding orb or sceptre with double cross[7]
Swithun bishop with bridge, broken eggs[a]



Neo-Gothic "solar" monstrance at the hermitage church of Warfhuizen


roses entwining a crucifix

Saint Symbol
Teresa of Ávila heart, arrow, look[a]
Teresa of the Andes small cross, flowers[a]
Theodore crocodile[a]
Thérèse de Lisieux roses entwining a crucifix[a]
Thomas Aquinas monstrance, dove, ox[a]
Thomas Becket sword, and wearing chancellor's robe and neck chain[a]
Thomas More axe[a]
Timothy three stones and a clubclub and stones; broken image of Diana[25]
Trudpert axe[a]
Tudwal dragon[a]


Pfaffstätten 7282

Bishop with grapes


birds on his shoulder; wearing fur pelisse in a religious habit

Saint Symbol
Ulrich of Augsburg Bishop holding a fish; at dinner with Saint Wolfgang; rewarding a messenger with a goose leg, which turns into a fish on Friday morning; giving a garment to a beggar; with Saint Afra; riding through a river on horseback as his companion sinks; with a cross given him by an angel[b]
Urban portrayed in art after his beheading, with the papal tiara near him[a]
Urban of Langres bishop with a bunch of grapes or a vine at his side; a book with a wine vessel on it[a]
Ursicinus book and fleur-de-lis[a]
Ursula arrow; banner; cloak; clock; maiden shot with arrows; depicted accompanied by a varied number of companions who are being martyred in various ways; ship[a]
Ursus of Aosta birds on his shoulder; wearing fur pelisse in a religious habit[a]



A traditional biretta

Nuremberg chronicles - Veronica (XCVIIr)

The Veil of Veronica

Saint Symbol
Valentine Birds; roses; bishop with a crippled or a child with epilepsy at his feet; bishop with a rooster nearby; bishop refusing to adore an idol; bishop being beheaded; priest bearing a sword; priest holding a sun; priest giving sight to a blind girl[26]
Vedast wolf carrying a goose in its mouth; child; bear[a]
Venera crown; book; palm; cross; a palm of martyrdom interlaced with a triple crown (signifying the fact that she was a Virgin, an Apostle, and a Martyr{[b]
Verdiana snakes[a]
Veronica Veil of Veronica[a]
Victor of Marseilles windmill[a]
Vigilius of Trent shoes or clogs[a]
Vincent de Paul children[a]
Vincent Ferrer pulpit, cardinal's hat, trumpet, captives[a]
Vitus cross, rooster, lion[a]


Crosiere of arcbishop Heinrich of Finstingen

Crosier of archbishop Heinrich of Finstingen, 1260–1286

Hnanice - znak

a church building with an adze lodged in the roof

Saint Symbol
Wenceslaus of Bohemia crown, dagger[a]
William of Montevergine wolf and pastoral crook[a]
William of York bishop crossing the River Tweed[a]
Winnoc hand-mill, bridge, grinding corn[a]
Wolfgang of Regensburg a church building with an adze lodged in the roof, a wolf[a]


Une canne de marchand Châlus

Walking stick

Saint Symbol
Xenia of Saint Petersburg walking stick[a]
Xystus book, papal tiara, martyr's palm[a]



Mitre of Bishop Sztojkovics, Hungary, c. 1860

Saint Symbol
Yrieix bishop's mitre[a]


1461 Gozzoli Der hl. Zenobius erweckt einen toten Knaben anagoria

flowering tree; bringing a dead man or child back to life

Saint Symbol
Zachary Making peace with King Luitprand. Sometimes he may have an olive branch and a dove over him [a]
Zenobius of Florence flowering tree; bringing a dead man or child back to life[a]
Zita bag, keys[a]

Flowers in symbolism

Passiflora caerulea (makro close-up)

Blue passion flower (P. caerulea) showing most elements of the Christian symbolism

Flower Symbol Reason
Acacia A symbol of the immortality of the soul durability of the wood [d]
Almond A symbol of divine approval From the Book of Numbers "The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds." [d][27]
Anemone crucifixion scenes and have been associated with the sorrow of Virgin Mary these flowers grew at Golgotha[c]
Columbine Holy Spirit The name "columbine" comes from the Latin for "dove", due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together.[28][c]
Daisy innocence, beauty, salvation, modesty, purity and love simplicity[c]
Hyacinth prudence, constancy, desire of heaven and peace of mind From the story of Hyacinthus, upon whose death the flower sprung forth.[29]
Iris Our Lady of Sorrows sharp leaves like swords [c]
Lily virtues of justice, charity and hope; also the Holy Trinity, the Madonna lily is specific to Mary lilies with three petals [c]
Passionflower Crucifixion of Jesus each part of the flower represents a different aspect of the Passion of Christ [c]
Rose Mary queen of flowers [c][30]
White clover Holy Trinity Three petals that compose a flower [c]
White tulip Holy Spirit White tulips are used to send a message of forgiveness[31]

Further reading

  • Delaney, John P. (1980). Dictionary of Saints (Second ed.). Garden City, NY: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-13594-7.
  • Lanzi, Fernando; Lanzi, Gioia (2004-09-01). Saints and their Symbols: Recognizing Saints in Art and in Popular Images. Translated by O'Connell, Matthew J. ISBN 9780814629703.
  • Post, W. Ellwood (1975). Saints, Signs and Symbols (2 ed.). SPCK Publishing. ISBN 9780281028948.
  • Walsh, Michael (2007). A New Dictionary of Saints: East and West. Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0-8146-3186-7.
  • Whittemore, Carroll E. (1980). Symbols of the Church. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0687183014.

See also

External links


  1. "List of saints". Catholic Online.
  2. "Iconography". Christian Iconography. 2015-10-20.
  3. Kostka, Arun Oswin. "Flowers in Christian Symbolism".
  4. Gast, Walter E. (2000). "Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture".
  1. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Symbolism" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
  2. ^ a b Mayernik, David T. (2018). "A Vast, Immeasurable Sanctuary: Iconography for Churches". Sacred Architecture Journal. 5: 22.
  3. ^ "Eastern Orthodox and Catholic teaching about Icons".
  4. ^ Hassett, M. (1911). "Palm in Christian Symbolism". The Catholic Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ Saint Jerome; St. Jerome (December 2008). Commentary on Matthew (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 117). CUA Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-8132-0117-7.
  6. ^ Kugeares, Sophia Manoulian (1991). Images Of The Annunciation Of The Virgin Mary Of The 13th, 14th And 15th Century.
  7. ^ a b c d Stracke, Richard (2015-10-20). "Hungarian Saints: Adalbert, Martin, Stanislas, Emeric and Stephen". Christian Iconography.
  8. ^ Fongemie, Pauly. "SYMBOLS IN ART". Catholic tradition. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  9. ^ "L'Osservatore Romano publishes new Papal coat of arms". Catholic News Agency. 2005-04-28. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
  10. ^ Libellus de principiis, citing the story of his birth
  11. ^ "Saint Dorothy of Caesarea". Patron Saints Index:. 2008-03-18.
  12. ^ Mendler, Mitch. "Saint Florian - the patron saint of the fire service". Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  13. ^ Zimmerman, Julie. "Friar Jack's Catechism Quiz: Test Your Knowledge on Angels". Archived from the original on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e OrthodoxWiki. "Archangel Gabriel" (Internet). OrthodoxWiki. Retrieved 2013-11-15. Because the Angels are incorporeal beings, though they nevertheless take on human form when appearing to mankind, it can be difficult to differentiate one from another in icons. However, Gabriel is usually portrayed with certain distinguishing characteristics. He typically wears blue or white garments; he holds either a lily (representing the Theotokos), a trumpet, a shining lantern, a branch from Paradise presented to him by the Theotokos, or a spear in his right hand and often a mirror—made of jasper and with a Χ (the first letter of Christ (Χριστος) in Greek)—in his left hand. He should not be confused with the Archangel Michael, who carries a sword, shield, date-tree branch, and in the other hand a spear, white banner (possibly with scarlet cross) and tends to wear red. Michael's specific mission is to suppress enemies of the true Church (hence the military theme), while Gabriel's is to announce mankind's salvation.
  15. ^ a b c Ronner, John (March 1993). Know Your Angels: The Angel Almanac With Biographies of 100 Prominent Angels in Legend & Folklore-And Much More!. Murfreesboro, TN: Mamre Press. pp. 70–72, 73. ISBN 9780932945402. LCCN 93020336. OCLC 27726648. Retrieved 2013-11-15. Artists like to show Gabriel carrying a lily (Mary's flower), a scroll and a scepter.
  16. ^ "Saint of the Day, October 16:". St. Patrick Catholic Church. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  17. ^ "Godehard (Gotthard) von Hildesheim". Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon (in German). Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  18. ^ d, d. "Isidore and Maria, Patron Saints of Farmers". d. National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  19. ^ "Saint Kentigern". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  20. ^ Adler, Jerry; Lawler, Andrew. "How the Chicken Conquered the World". Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  21. ^ Rabenstein, Katherine (April 1999). "Opportuna of Montreuil, OSB". Saints O' the Day for April 22. Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved 2012-02-24.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  22. ^ "Lives".
  23. ^ Baring-Gould, Sabine (1898). "The Lives of the Saints". The Lives of the Saints.
  24. ^ Jameson, Anna (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. Longman, Brown, Green. p. 648.
  25. ^ "Saints Timothy & Titus", Saints, Passionist nun.
  26. ^ Jones, Terry. "Valentine of Terni". Patron Saints Tom. Archived from the original on April 1, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
  27. ^ Numbers 17:1-8
  28. ^ Shorter Oxford English dictionary, 6th ed. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 0199206872.
  29. ^ "Signs and Symbols". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  30. ^ Cucciniello, Lisa (2008). Rose to Rosary: The Flower of Venus in Catholicism. Rose Lore: Essays in Semiotics and Cultural History. Lexington Books. pp. 64–65.
  31. ^ "Easter Flowers". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
Bernardino of Siena

Bernardino of Siena, (also known as Bernardine; 8 September 1380 – 20 May 1444) was an Italian priest and Franciscan missionary. He was a systematizer of Scholastic economics. His popular preaching made him famous during his own lifetime because it was frequently directed against sorcery, gambling, infanticide, witchcraft, sodomy (homosexuality), Jews, and usury. Bernardino was later canonised by the Catholic Church as a saint - where he is also referred to as “the Apostle of Italy” - for his efforts to revive the country's Catholic faith during the 15th century.

Christian art

Christian art is sacred art which uses themes and imagery from Christianity. Most Christian groups use or have used art to some extent, although some have had strong objections to some forms of religious image, and there have been major periods of iconoclasm within Christianity.

Images of Jesus and narrative scenes from the Life of Christ are the most common subjects, and scenes from the Old Testament play a part in the art of most denominations. Images of the Virgin Mary and saints are much rarer in Protestant art than that of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Christianity makes far wider use of images than related religions, in which figurative representations are forbidden, such as Islam and Judaism. However, there is also a considerable history of aniconism in Christianity from various periods.

Christian symbolism

Christian symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity. It invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas.

The symbolism of the early Church was characterized by being understood by initiates only, while after the legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire during the 4th-century more recognizable symbols entered in use. Christianity has borrowed from the common stock of significant symbols known to most periods and to all regions of the world.Christianity has not generally practiced Aniconism, or the avoidance or prohibition of types of images, even if the early Jewish Christians sects, as well as some modern denominations, preferred to some extent not to use figures in their symbols, by invoking the Decalogue's prohibition of idolatry.

Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah

Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that an ordinance passed in Hialeah, Florida, forbidding the "unnecessar[y]" killing of "an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption", was unconstitutional.

Holy card

In the Christian tradition, holy cards or prayer cards are small, devotional pictures mass-produced for the use of the faithful. They usually depict a religious scene or a saint in an image about the size of a playing card. The reverse typically contains a prayer, some of which promise an indulgence for its recitation. The circulation of these cards is an important part of the visual folk culture of Roman Catholics, and in modern times, prayer cards have also become popular among Orthodox Christians and Protestant Christians, although with the latter, biblical themes are emphasized within them.

List of early Christian saints

This is a List of 1,067 Early Christian saints— saints before 450 AD— in alphabetical order by Christian name.

Wikipedia contains a calendar of saints listed by the day of the year on which they are traditionally venerated, as well as a Chronological list of saints and blesseds, listed by their date of death.

List of patron saints by occupation and activity

This is a list of patron saints of occupations and activities or of groups of people with a common occupation or activity.

Patron saint

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.

Symbolic language (art)

In art, symbolic language refers to the use of characters or images to represent concepts. Symbolic language in art uses imagery to communicate meaning by displaying an accessible concept, the signifier, to represent a signified concept.

Symbolic language in art may be used figuratively, to reference ideas and "convey concepts in terms of images", as when images and positioning of objects such as flowers or animals are used to signify cultural concepts. .

Symbolic language in art may be used more literally, as in floriography, where arrangements of flowers are decoded with the help of special dictionaries, enabling communication of secret, unspoken information as a form of cryptography.Similarly, in religious iconography, symbolic languages may be developed to communicate between believers in a hostile environment, with progressive teachings providing increasing access to hidden meanings in the images.

Topics about Saints
Calendar of saints
Canonization process
Related topics


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