Crown of Thorns and Nails 1: Symbolizes our Lord's Passion.
Crown of Thorns and Nails 2: Symbolizes our Lord's Passion.
Winged Creature with the Head of an Eagle, John: The high soaring eagle represents John because in his narrative he rises to loftiest heights in dealing with the mind of Christ.
Jesus as a Palestinian: Artist Richard Neave used historical records to render a likeness of a 1st Century Jew from Palestine, in order to suggest a likeness for Jesus.
Gospel, Barnabas: Included among the apostles, although like Paul he was not of the Twelve. Tradition says he was especially successful as a preacher, hence the Gospel in the symbol.
All-Seeing Eye: The all-seeing eye of God looks out from the triangle of the Trinity. It is found in some English and Greek churches.
Fallen idol, St. Cornelius: A Pope of Rome, 251-3 A.D. During his short episcopate he was harassed by religious controversies, by the appearance of a rival pope. Martyred 258 A.D.
Prayer, St. Mary, wife of Cleophas (Cleopas): The mother of the apostle, James the Less. She was one of the three Marys who stood at the foot of the cross on Calvary. First Century.
Nikki Johnson provided the alternate spelling.
Sheet music, St. Ambrose: This famous Bishop of Milan, one of the four Doctors of the Western Church, was a great lover of music. He added to the richness of sacred services of the Church with it, and introduced the antiphonal chants bearing his name today. Died 397 A.D.
Eight Pointed Star, Star of Regeneration: Jewish circumcisions are traditionally performed on the 8th day of life, and with baptism being the New Testament equivalent of circumcision, the base of baptismal fonts often have eight sides. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Nine Pointed Star, Star of the Fruits of the Spirit: Symbolizes the the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galations 5:22. In Latin/English, correponding to the letters, (charitas/love, gaudium/joy, pax/peace, longanimitas/patience, benignitas/kindness, bonitus/goodness, fides/faithfulness, mansuetudo/gentleness and continentia/self-control). Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Spoon, St. Raphael: The archangel who is the guardian angel of all humanity. He is called the "Healer of God" and is identified with the angel of the pool at Bethesda.
Five Pointed Star, Epiphany Star, Star of Jacob 2: The Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17) finds it fulfillment in the "manifestation" of Jesus to the Gentiles (Matt. 2:1,2). This star also represents the five wounds of Christ. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Five Pointed Star, Epiphany Star, Star of Jacob 1: The Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17) finds it fulfillment in the "manifestation" of Jesus to the Gentiles (Matt. 2:1,2). This star also represents the five wounds of Christ. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Ship, St. Thaddaeus: Also called Jude or Judas (not Iscariot). Thought by some to be the brother of James the Less and author of the epistle bearing his name. First Century.
Winged Creature with a Lion's Face, Mark: The winged lion represents Mark because his Gospel narrative begins with, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness", and this suggests the roar of a lion.
Grapes: A bunch of grapes signifies the sacrament of the Holy Communion, and is most appropriately found about the Communion table.
Keys, Peter: The crossed keys recall Peter's confession and our Lord's gift to him of the keys of the kingdom. See Matt. 16:18,19.
Lamb Standing with the Banner of Victory: No longer wounded as in Rev 5:1, but standing with the banner of victory, suggesting the victorious nature of His sacrifice.
Lily, St. Gabriel: This archangel was the angel sent to Mary to announce that she was to be the mother of Jesus. He is sometimes called the "Angel of the Annunciation." (Luke 1.)
Greek Cross: All arms are of equal length.
Scroll, St. Theodore of Canterbury: A Greek monk nominated by Pope Vitalian as Archbishop of Canterbury. He was the last foreign missionary to occupy the metropolitan see. Died 690 A.D.
Pen and sword, St. Alban: He was a pagan who sheltered a persecuted priest, and was converted. He helped the priest escape, whereupon the fury of the pagans turned on Alban. He was beheaded in the city which now bears his name. Martyred about 303 A.D.
Censer: Symbol of prayer. As incense smoke wafts upward, so prayer ascends before God (Revelation 8:4 and Psalm 141:2).
Circle: Used in many religious symbols, the circle is without beginning and without end, so it represents eternity.
1 Corinthians 10:18: See jrbell.com. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 10:18
Sheep, The Twelve Apostles: The apostles have been symbolized as a group as well as individually. In one place, twelve doves are used; in another, twelve men are shown, each with a sheep. Some very early carvings represent the apostles as twelve sheep.
Ascension: Usually pictured as shown, though sometimes Elijah's chariot of fire is employed as a symbol.
Andrew's Cross: Tradition says that while Andrew was preaching in Greece he was put to death on a cross of this type.
Crucifix, St. Katherine (Catherine) of Sienna: From a child, Katherine was very religious, living at home in extreme self-mortification, spending much time in prayer and meditation. Later she felt called to leave home and devoted herself to the care of the sick and other good works. Died 1380 A.D.
Scale, St. Michael: One of the archangels, St. Michael is regarded traditionally as guardian of the Church and its members against the evil one. It is he who is supposed to weigh the souls of men at the Last Day.
St. George: St. George is the patron saint of England and venerated as the model of knighthood and protector of women. Also the patron of soldiers since he was long a military man engaged in warfare with the pagans. Martyred 303 A.D.
Fish, Icthus and Cross: A secret sign used by the early persecuted Christians to designate themselves as believers in Jesus. The initial letters for the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior", spell the Greek word for fish (see ICTHUS in the glossary).
Upside down L with dots: Upside down L with dots - Masonic symbol, Tubal Cane (two ball cane).
Seven Pointed Star, Star of the Gifts of the Spirit: Symbolizing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2): wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (reverence). Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Arrows, St. Giles of Provence: Reputed to be a Greek cripple who refused the be cured of an accidental lameness in order that he might more completely mortify his pride. Lived as a hermit in a cave. Patron saint of cripples and beggars. Died 712 A.D.
Infant on Bible, St. Anthony of Padua: A faithful and eloquent preacher against doctrinal errors and wickedness, he is usually referred to as the "hammer of heretics." A follower of St. Francis, he preached in France, Italy, and Sicily until his death in Padua. Died 1231 A.D.
Elijah's Chariot of Fire: The prophet Elijah ascended to heaven on a chariot of fire, watched by Elisha (2 Kings 2:11).
Celtic Cross, Cross of Iona: Dating back to early centuries of the Christian era, it is said to have been taken from what is now Ireland to the island of Iona by Colomba in the 6th century.
Dagger, St. Edward the Martyr: King of England at the age of thirteen. He was stabbed to death by his stepmother, who wanted the throne for her own son Ethelred. Martyred 979 A.D.
Chalice, St. Oswald: First of the English Royal Saints. As King of Northumbria he diligently sought the complete evangelization of his country, and died fighting against a champion of paganism. Died 642 A.D.
Animals, St. Francis: The well-born Francis resolved to devote his life to God. Founded the Franciscans, the members of which embrace complete poverty, and help the sick and suffering. Died 1226 A.D.
Eagle, St. Wenceslas: Duke of Bohemia. A Christian, he took over the reigns of government at the time of a pagan reaction. He was murdered by his pagan brother. Patron saint of the Czechs. Martyred about 938 A.D.
Ship, Jude: This apostle traveled far on missionary journeys, hence the ship.
Fleur de Lis: Symbolizes the Trinity, also Mary the mother of our Lord.
Urn, St. Bede: The Venerable Bede entered a monastery at the age of seven years for his education and remained there for the rest of his life. He spent his time reading, praying, teaching, and was a voluminous writer. Died 735 A.D.
Pillars, St. Athanasius: Athanasius was Bishop of Alexandria and an unusual student of Holy Scriptures. He was an authority on the ecclesiastical and canon laws of the Church and exerted a powerful influence in the Church. Died 373 A.D.
Bible, St. Denis (Dionysius) of Paris: A Roman missionary who penetrated far into Gaul and became the first bishop at Paris. Venerated as patron saint of France. Martyred 272 A.D.
Maltese Cross: Consisting of four spearheads with points together. Dates back to the days of the Crusades when the order of the Hospitallers used it for their emblem. Later they made their headquarters on the island of Malta.
IHS heart, St. Ignatius: Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch in Syria. When asked by the emperor for a sacrifice to heathen gods, Ignatius refused. He was condemned and thrown to the wild beasts. Martyred 107 A.D.
Symbolizes Taoism (see the glossary).
Symbolizes Sikhism (see the glossary).
Chalice, John: Early writers state that John once drank from a poisoned chalice and was unharmed.
Tau Cross: This form of cross (resembling the Greek letter Tau) predates the Latin cross.
Twelve Pointed Star, Star of the Apostles: From a Christian perspective, represents the 12 apostles. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Crown and palm, St. Dorothy: A virgin of Caesarea in Cappadocia noted for her beauty and piety. Refusing to sacrifice to idols, she was beheaded. Martyred about 300 A.D.
Daisies, St. High of Grenoble: Appointed bishop of Grenoble, he believed he was inefficient and retired to an austere abbey for discipline. The pope, however, impressed by the bishop's holy life, recalled him to his former high office where he served notably. Died 1132 A.D.
Souls of the Righteous: Symbolizes a sentence in the Book of Wisdom, "The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God."
Jesus and Children: Jesus loved children.
Symbolizes the Shinto religion (see the glossary).
Sword and Bible, St. Boniface: This saint, a Benedictine monk, carried the Gospel to Germany and founded the Abbey of Fulda which was the center of German missionary activity. Martyred 755 A.D.
Ox, St. Antipas: He is venerated as the first Bishop of Pergamus (Asia Minor), and is by St. John in the Apocalypse (11:13) styled the "Faithful witness." Tradition avers that he was roasted to death in a brazen ox in the reign of the Emperor Domitian. Martyred 90 A.D.
Angel, female 2: Female angel.
Angel, female 1: Female angel.
Greek ruins, St. Titus: A convert of St. Paul, and mentioned in the Pauline epistles as his brother and co-partner in his labours. Reputedly the first Bishop of Crete. First Century.
Stars with Orb, Star of the 12 Tribes: Symbolizing Jacob and his wife, and 12 sons (who led the 12 tribes of Israel). Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Bursting Pomegranate: Symbolizes the Resurrection and the power of our Lord, who was able to burst the tomb and come forth.
Fire, St. Uriel: One of the archangels, his name means "God is my light." He is considered the interpreter of prophecy.
St. Augustine: Known as the "Apostle of the English", Augustine and forty monks carried the Gospel to England. Received by the pagan king, Ethelbert, who soon was baptized with many others. Later Augustine was made Bishop. Died 604 A.D.
Six-Pointed Star, Star of Creation, Star of David 1: Although ancient and symbolizing the six days of creation, best known in modern times as a symbol of Judaeism. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Coins, St. Nicholas: Bishop of Myra. Tradition says that St. Nicholas went secretly to the house of a destitute nobleman three nights in succession and threw a purse of gold in the window. Patron saint of children. Died about 326 A.D.
Monk, St. Ansgarius (Anskar): A missionary of the Faith to the Norsemen of Scandinavia. Long he labored amidst great discouragements and hostile tribes. Finally his self-denial and love for others made an impression and the savage people became Christian. Died 865 A.D.
Open Bible: Symbolizes the Word of God.
Bread, Philip: A cross and two loaves of bread, because of Philip's remark when Jesus fed the multitude. John 6:7.
Knives, Bartholomew: Bartholomew is said to have been flayed alive, hence he is usually represented by three flaying knives.
Iron bed, St. Lawrence: A deacon at Rome under Sixtus II. Three days after the latter was put to death, Lawrence was tortured on an iron bed (or roasting rack according to Hilarie C) over a fire. Martyred 258 A.D.
Eleven Pointed Star: Eleven pointed star with 9 attached "planets" and extension showing reeds or knives. IF YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS, CONTACT THE SITE AUTHOR! The Statue of Libery sits on an eleven pointed star. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Freemasonry: Symbolizes Freemasonry.
Stag, St. Eustace: Eustace was a Roman officer under the Emperor Trajan. He owed his conversion to the image of a stag with a crucifix between its antlers which he saw while hunting. Died 118 A.D.
Christmas Rose: Symbolizes the Nativity, and Messianic prophecy.
Skull and Crossbones: Occasionally seen at the feet of Christ on a crucifix to symbolize Christ's victory over death or Golgotha (Place of the Skull, the location of Christ's crucifixion).
Shell, James (the greater): The scallop shell is the symbol of pilgrimage and stands for this apostle's zeal and missionary spirit.
The three Latin crosses represent the crucifixion location at Calvary (Golgotha). Jesus was crucified between two other convicted criminals.
Peacock: An early symbol of the Resurrection, the peacock sheds his feathers but then grows new, even more brilliant feathers.
Scissors, St. Agatha: Born in a noble Sicilian family, Agatha was famous for her beauty and gentleness. She refused to give up her Christian faith at the command of the governor, and was unspeakably tortured. She is the patroness of bell-founders. Died 251 A.D.
Bible, St. Martin: One day Martin saw a shivering beggar and shared his own cloak with the stranger. Later he entered the Church and while Bishop of Tours he converted his whole area to Christianity. Died 401 A.D.
Pelican: Symbol of the Atonement. The pelican was believed to draw blood from its own breast to feed its young.
Cross of Triumph: Symbolizes the triumph of the Gospel throughout the earth.
IHS ancient form: An ancient depiction of the first three letters (iota ι, eta η, sigma σ) of the Greek spelling of Jesus (Ιησούς). The bar above the eta denotes 'abbreviation'.
Scepter, St. Gregory: As Pope, 590-604 A.D., Gregory reformed the services of the Church and arranged the music of the chants. One of the truly great popes. Died 604 A.D.
Purses, Matthew: Symbolized by three purses, referring to his original calling as a tax collector.
Bible with Ax, Matthias: Chosen to take the place of Judas, he is symbolized by an open Bible and double bladed battle-axe. He is said to have been beheaded after his missionary work.
Crown, St. Louis: King of France, a brave warrior, very considerate to his people, especially the poor. In private life, more austere and prayerful than many a religious. Leader of two crusades. Died 1270 A.D.
Anchor Cross: Used by the early Christians in the Catacombs. Ancient Egyptian in origin.
Butterfly: Symbolizes the resurrection and eternal life. As the butterfly leaves the pupa and soars upward with a new body, so through Jesus Christ are His followers borne to a new life.
St. Andrew's Cross: The form of cross traditionally associated with the crucifixion of the apostle Andrew, who supposedly requested a form of cross unlike that of his Lord.
Snakes, St. Hilda: Of royal blood, Hilda took the habit of a nun. Because of her piety and holy life she was soon appointed abbess. Her influence was a factor in securing unity in the English church. Died 680 A.D.
Burning Torch: Symbolizes witnessing for Christ. "Let your light so shine." (Matthew 5:16).
Symbolizes Jainism (see the glossary).
Triquetra: Early symbol of the Holy Trinity. The three equal arcs express eternity in their continuous form, indivisibility in their interweaving, and their center is a triangle, ancient Trinity symbol.
Ax and crown, St. Olaf: The son of the King of Norway. As a youth he lived a wild life. Accepted baptism and as king summoned missionaries from England to Christianize his country. Died 1030 A.D.
Chi Rho: The first two letters, Chi (Χ) and Rho (Ρ), of the Greek word for Christ (Χριστός).
Circle and Triangle: Combines the symbol for eternity with the symbol for the Trinity.
Spiked wheel, St. Katherine (Catherine) of Alexandria: Early converted to Christianity, she vanquished her pagan adversaries in a debate. This so enraged the Emperor that he ordered her put to death on a machine of spiked wheels. She was saved by a miracle but was later beheaded. Martyred 310 A.D.
Purse, St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Bishop of Jerusalem for many years. At one time was expelled because he sold ornaments of the church to provide food for the poor. Wrote instruction on Christian doctrine for catechumens which have been highly regarded ever since. Died 386 A.D.
Horn, St. Hubert: According to legend, Hubert was converted while hunting and immediately won over to a better life a band of brigands he met in the forest. Became Bishop of Liège. Died 727 A.D.
Snake and shamrock, St. Patrick: A captive British boy in Ireland, Patrick escaped and was educated in continental monasteries. Later he returned to Ireland preaching and teaching the Gospel and building churches. Patron saint of Ireland. Died about 465 A.D.
Stag, St. Aidan: An Irish monk of Iona who was sent to evangelize northern England and received the devoted help of Kings Oswald and Oswin. Died 651 A.D.
Hand of God 2: Symbolizes the Father, as Creator, Gen. 1:1.
Hand of God 1: Symbolizes the Father, as Blessor.
Carpenter's square and flowers, St. Joseph: Joseph was the husband of Mary, the mother if Jesus. All that is known of Joseph is found in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew, he is described as a "just man." First Century.
Three-Rayed Nimbus: Signifies divinity and is used only with any Person of the Trinity (including the dove and lamb). Rays of light were ancient emblems of divine power.
Beehive, St. Chrysostrum or Chrysostom: The name St. John Chrysostom comes from the Greek chrysotomos, writes Nikki Johnson)
John, Bishop of Constantinople became the most eloquent preacher of the early Church, and so was called Chrysostrum, or Golden-mouthed. Legend says that when he was a baby, a swarm of bees settled on his mouth. Died 407 A.D.
Arrows, St. Edmund: At fifteen years of age Edmund became king of the East-Angles. He was very devout and religious. During a pagan invasion, Edmund refused to give up his Christian faith and was shot to death with arrows. Died 870 A.D.
Mother and child, St. Elizabeth: The mother of John the Baptist. All that is known of her is given in the first chapter of Luke. First Century.
Cannister, St. Mary Magdalen: This Mary was the sinning and repentant woman forgiven through the love of Jesus. Appropriately, she is the patron saint of penitent women. Died 68 A.D.
Phoenix: A mythical bird which at death bursts into flame but rises from its own ashes. Symbol of the Resurrection and immortal life.
Ax, St. Cyprian: A lawyer, converted to Christianity, who became the Bishop of Carthage. Wrote several important theological treatises, and became a pioneer of Christian literature writing. Martyred 258. A.D.
Daisy: Symbolizes the innocence of the Holy Child.
Symbolizes the Bahai faith (see the glossary).
Symbolizes Islam (see the glossary). Muslims use very few symbols, and in particular, they do not depict leaders and prophets.
Wheat: Heads of wheat symbolize the Bread of Life (Mark 14:22). With clusters of grapes, appropriate for holy tables.
I.N.R.I.: Initial letters for Latin inscription on the cross: Jesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Symbol for Jesus.
Fish, Icthus 4: A secret sign used by the early persecuted Christians to designate themselves as believers in Jesus. The initial letters for the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior", spell the Greek word for fish (see ICTHUS in the glossary). Three fish intertwined represent the Holy Trinity.
Fish, Icthus 1: A secret sign used by the early persecuted Christians to designate themselves as believers in Jesus. The initial letters for the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior", spell the Greek word for fish (see ICTHUS in the glossary).
Fish, Icthus 3: A secret sign used by the early persecuted Christians to designate themselves as believers in Jesus. The initial letters for the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior", spell the Greek word for fish (see ICTHUS in the glossary).
Fish, Icthus 2: A secret sign used by the early persecuted Christians to designate themselves as believers in Jesus. The initial letters for the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior", spell the Greek word for fish (see ICTHUS in the glossary).
Horse, St. Theodore Tyro: A soldier in the Roman army, Theodore set fire to the temple of Cybele, and suffered martyrdom for his deed. Martyred 306 A.D.
Candlestick: These suggest our Lord's words, "I am the light of the world," John 8:12. A pair of candlesticks represent His two-fold nature - human and divine.
Shepherd boy, St. Cuthbert: A shepherd boy in Britain who embraced the monastic life. He became a faithful preacher and missionary to the wild and untamed mountain people of Scotland, and on the island of Farne. Died 687 A.D.
Hat, St. Roch (Rocco): A citizen of France who devoted his life to the service of the plague-stricken, especially those who were abandoned. Patron of hospitals and prisons. Died about 1318. A.D.
Michelangelo's God: From Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam
from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican's Basilica.
Ladder Crossed with Reed and Sponge: A symbol of our Lord's crucifixion, since the sponge was used to provide him vinegar while on the cross.
Stool, St. Mary of Bethany: The sister of Martha and Lazarus, who won commendation from Jesus because of her eagerness to sit at his feet and learn of him. First Century.
Seamless Coat: One of the Passion symbols, referring to the garment of Jesus for which the soldiers at the foot of the cross cast lots.
Shepherd: This symbol, found in the Catacombs, reminds us of the loving care of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Easter Eggs: From the children's page, we know that there's no bunny distributing eggs in the Easter story. It's OK to celebrate spring, but remember the sacrifice of Jesus.
Monastery, St. Gerald of Auriliae: Gerald lived a very holy life "in the world" at a time of great moral degeneracy. He lived according to a very strict rule and founded a monastery for Benedictines. Died 909 A.D.
Mountain, St. David: The patron saint of Wales, in which country he was born. He founded many monasteries, the most famous of which was in what is now St. Davids. His monks followed a very austere rule. Died about 588 A.D.
Marian Cross: Represents Mary at the foot of the cross.
Alpha and Omega: The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet which signify that Jesus is the beginning and the end of all things. See Revelation 1:8.
Equilateral Triangle: The three distinct angles combine to make one complete figure, symbolizing the Holy Trinity.
Empty tomb: The empty tomb. Mark 16.
Crown and Cross: These symbolize the reward of the faithful in the life after death to those who believe in the crucified Savior. "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee the Crown of Life", Rev. 2:10.
Three Intertwining Circles: These indicate the doctrine of the equality, unity, and coeternal nature of the three persons of the Trinity.
Tree, St. Bride (St. Bridget): Baptized by St. Patrick, St. Bridget founded the first nunnery in Ireland. Legends stress her mercy and pity for the poor. Died 523 A.D.
Lighthouse, St. Christopher: Legend says that Offero (bearer) once carried the Christ child on his shoulders across a swollen stream, and so thereafter was known as Christopher (Christ-bearer). Patron saint of travel. Martyred about 250 A.D.
Carpenter's square and a spear, Thomas: A carpenter's square and a spear, because this apostle is said to have built a church with his own hands, in India. Later, he was persecuted there and was killed with a spear by a pagan priest.
Symbolizes indigenous (pagan, indian, aboriginal) religions (see the glossary).
Winged Creature with the Head of an Ox, Luke: The winged ox (an ox being an anumal of sacrifice) represents Luke, who stresses the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
Archangel Gabriel: The archangel Gabriel.
Flowers, St. Mary: About fifty Marys are mentioned in the Book of Saints. The mother of Jesus is, of course, the outstanding character among them.
Anchor, St. Clement: Converted to the Christian faith by St. Paul. He became the Bishop of Rome, later he was martyred by being cast into the sea tied to an anchor. Martyred about 100 A.D.
Saw, James (the lesser): Represented by a saw, since it is said his body was sawn asunder after a terrible martyrdom.
Book, St. Bernard: Early joined the Cistercians and later founded the Abbey of Clairvaus. Bernard was the adviser of popes and kings and write profusely, especially on the love of God. Died 1153 A.D.
Aureole: An elongated nimbus used only as surrounding the entire body of our Lord, or the Virgin and Child.
Bible, Paul: Referred to as the "Apostle to the Gentiles," but not one of the twelve apostles. Symbolized by an open Bible with the words "Spiritus Gladius" (sword of the Spirit), and behind the Bible the sword of the Spirit itself.
Palm Leaf: In ancient times, a palm leaf was given to winners in contests of strength and skill. For Christians it signifies the heavenly reward (Rev 7:9) and reminds us of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem now celebrated on Palm Sunday.
Shamrock, St. Gerald: A Northumbrian monk who followed Colman from Lindisfarne to Ireland and became his successor in the English house built at Mayo for the English Monastic Colony. Died 732 A.D.
Scroll, St. Asaph: Distinguished for learning and piety, and for his earnest preaching. He was appointed bishop in a newly formed see in North Wales, which later was named for him. Died about 595 A.D.
Knives, St. Nathaniel: Nathaniel is the name used for Bartholomew in the Fourth Gospel. He was the one whom Philip brought to Jesus and whose open mindedness qualified him to receive additional revelations about his resurrected Lord. First Century.
Symbolizes Buddhism (see the glossary).
St. Faith: This beautiful young woman was very strong in her Christian belief and remained steadfast to her name when ordered to sacrifice to Diana. Burned to death. Died 290 A.D.
Six Pointed Star, Star of Creation, Star of David: Although ancient and symbolizing the six days of creation, best known in modern times as a symbol of Judaeism. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Chi Rho with Alpha and Omega in a Circle: Symbol for Christ within symbol for eternity (circle), signifying the eternal existence of our Lord.
IHS modern form: A modern depiction of the first three letters (iota ι, eta η·, sigma σ‚) of the Greek spelling of Jesus (Ιησούς). The bar above the eta denotes 'abbreviation'.
Symbolizes Hinduism (see the glossary).
Coat and stones, St. Stephen: The Deacon and first Christian martyr, called by Luke "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost." Stoned to death in the First Century.
Pen, St. Cyril of Alexandria: A native of Alexandria and patriarch of the city. Gave much of his life to defense of the truth of Christ's divinity. Died 444 A.D.
Winged Creature with a Man's Face, Matthew: The winged man represents Matthew because his Gospel narrative traces Jesus' human genealogy.
Shield of the Trinity: The three curving sides, each exactly equal in length, carry the Latin words, "is not". The short straight bands have the word "is". The outer circles bear the words, "Father", "Son", "Holy Spirit", while the inner circle is "God".
Escallop Shell with Drops of Water: A symbol of our Lord's baptism.
Celtic cross, St. Columba (St. Colum): This saint founded many churches and monasteries in Ireland and Scotland, the most famous of which was on the island of Iona. One of the most consecrated and indefatigable of Christian missionaries. Died 597 A.D.
Pillar, St. Simeon: As a boy Simeon joined the community of St. John Stylites. For sixty nine years he lived on the top of pillars within the monastery, in the exercise of religious contemplation. Died about 597 A.D.
Harp, St. Cecilia: This Roman lady, educated as a Christian, converted her husband and shared martyrdom with him. Tradition says she wrote hymns and sang beautifully, so she is regarded as the patroness of music. Martyred about 200 A.D.
Book on Fish, Simon the Zealot: This symbol is a book upon which rests a fish, because through the power of the Gospel Simon became a great fisher of men.
Fylfot, Swastika: A pagan symbol adopted by the Christians in the Catacombs and ancient cemeteries because they saw in it a cross concealed from their enemies. This symbol is ancient and has been used by many cultures over many centuries. See this web page
Latin Cross: The most common depiction of a Christian cross in modern times.
Symbolizes Confucianism (see the glossary).
Coat, St. John the Baptist: He baptized our Lord. "The man sent from God," the voice crying in the wilderness: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," of whom Christ said, "among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet." First Century.
Aspergillum and cup, St. Martha: Martha was the hostess of our Lord in her home in Bethany. She is the patroness of housewives and books. Hilarie C reports that a medieval compilation, The Golden Legend, includes a story of Martha subduing a dragon with holy water sprinkled from an aspergillum. First Century.
Jerusalem Cross, Crusader's Cross: Usually has four small crosses between the arms, the five crosses symbolizing the five wounds of Christ. Worn by Godfrey de Bouillon, first ruler of Jerusalem after the liberation from the Moslems.
Dragon, St. Margaret: The daughter of a pagan priest of Antioch, she became a Christian. She endured much persecution because of her faith, but remained true. Patron saint of women in childbirth. Martyred about 306 A.D.
Russian Orthodox Cross: BUILD YOUR OWN!
Nikki Johnson adds: The three barred cross is used by many Eastern Orthodox Churches and even by Eastern (Byzantine-rite) Catholic churches. While Slavic in origin, its use extends outside of the Slavic people groups. The common understandings of the bars on the cross among Eastern Orthodox Christians include the following:
1. The top bar is symbolic of the sign placed above Christ's head reading "King of the Jews".
2. The bottom bar, which is sometimes depicted going straight across, is symbolic of two things, at least. When it is slanted, the right side (from the perspective of Christ on the cross looking out) is pointed up, reminding us of the man crucified on the right side of Christ, about whom Christ said, "Today you shall be with me in paradise." The left side points down, reminding us of the demise of the unrepentant man on the left. Also, some say that the slant of the bottom bar represents victory over death - that Christ has broken death's power.
Club and stones, St. Timothy: Companion of Paul on his missionary journeys and referred to by Paul as "the beloved son in faith." Reputedly beaten and stoned to death for denouncing the worship of Diana. First Century.
Rope on cross, St. Julia: Julia was a Christian slave girl with a pagan master who respected her faith and goodness. However, when visiting a foreign country the pagan governor ordered her to sacrifice to the gods. Her refusal brought swift crucifixion. Fifth Century.
King, St. Charles (King Charles I): The only person formally canonized by the English Church since the Reformation. Known as Charles the Martyr, he was beheaded in London in 1649.
Five Pointed Star, Pentacle: A pentagram inside a circle is called a pentacle. Star symbols have been used for religious purposes since ancient times. This symbol in particular is associated in modern times with neo-Pagan religions such as Wicca. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Lamb, St. Agnes: She was a devoted follower of Jesus who steadfastly refused all offers of marriage, claiming she was the "bride of Christ." She is now considered the patroness of chastity. Died 654 A.D.
Flame of the Holy Ghost: The Holy Ghost, part of the Trinity, is often represented as fire.
Book, St. Chad: Abbot of the Priory of Lastingham. Noted for his religious life. Preached as a missionary through all the Northumbrian territory. His church is considered the origin of Lichfield Cathedral. Died 673 A.D.
Book, St. Anne: The mother of the Virgin Mary. From the Apocryphal Gospel records Anne has been honored, though nothing is known of her life. The book is a symbol of her careful instruction of Mary. First Century.
Coat, St. Vincent: At the age of twenty, Vincent was already an ordained deacon. With a unswerving Christian faith he underwent horrible tortures under Diocletian. Martyred 304 A.D.
Cornerstone: The cornerstone with abbreviations of the Greek words for Jesus Christ symbolizes Him who was declared to be the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:20.
Christ's cross, St. Helena (Helen): Mother of Constantine the Great and legendary discoverer of the true cross of Christ at Jerusalem. She built the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, the oldest Christian church in the world. Died 328 A.D.
Pincers, Dunstan: The English-born Dunstan became abbot of Glastonbury. Legend says the devil went to Dunstan's cell to tempt him, whereupon Dunstan caught the devil by the nose with red hot pincers and caused him to flee. Died 988 A.D.
IHS, St. Monica: A Christian woman, she was married to a pagan husband whom she labored to convert, together with her eldest son, St. Augustine, who became the Bishop of Hippo. Died 387 A.D.
Cliff, St. Sylvanus: One of seven brothers who were persecuted as Christians under Marcus Aurelius. While his mother, St. Felicitas stood by exhorting him to remain faithful to Christ, he was cast from a cliff. Martyred Second Century.
Pen, St. Hilary of Poitiers: Hillary was a student of rhetoric and philosophy and early became a convert to Christianity. He devoted his tongue and pen to fighting the Arian heresy and suffered banishment for his zeal. Died 368 A.D.
Nimbus (halo): The nimbus has come to be emblematic of sanctity and to denote a person recognized for unusual piety, such as, apostles, martyrs, and saints.
Four Pointed Star, Bethlehem Star, Epiphany Star: The star symbol most commonly used to represent the Bethlehem star (Matthew 2:1), its cross-like appearance also reminds us of Christ's crucifixion. Search for STAR to see all star symbols.
Jesus Christ, Conqueror: Consists of Greek cross with abbreviated Greek words for Jesus Christ (abbreviations indicated by horizontal lines), and ΝΙΚΑ. My original source translates this as CONQUEROR, web visitor Pfarrerin translates this as VICTORY, and Babelfish translates it as OVERCOME.
Easter Bunny: From the children's page, we know that there's no bunny distributing eggs in the Easter story. It's OK to celebrate spring, but remember the sacrifice of Jesus.
Archangel Michael: The archangel Michael.
Washing feet, St. Lioba: Of English birth, Lioba early was called to Germany by St. Boniface, who gave her a convent there. She was outstanding in piety, humility, and good works, and an honored friend of kings and queens. Died about 779 A.D.
Dove with Branch: Symbolizes the Holy Spirit and peace. The dove brought an olive leaf to Noah to signify the end of the flood. Mark 1:10, Matt 3:16, Gen 8:10-11.
Zoroastrianism: Symbolizes Zoroastrianism (see the glossary).
Snail, shell, St. Lydia: A seller of purple dyes, Lydia was converted through the preaching of Paul and was baptized with her whole household. She was the first recorded Christian convert in Europe. (Acts 16:14.) First Century.
Ship, St. Wilfrid (Wilfred): A devoted bishop who traveled widely on missionary labors, establishing, building, and strengthening churches throughout England. Died 709 A.D.
No More Coat Hangers: Symbolizes the pro-choice attitude that legal abortions are typically safer than privately performed, illegal abortions.
Latin Cross, Five Pointed Star, Heart: A combination of a five-pointed start, a heart and a Latin cross. Search for STAR, HEART and CROSS to see related symbols. Thanks to Lezann.
Hawk, St. Basil: A bishop in Asia Minor, where he defended his province against the Arian heresy. He wrote many doctrinal works, founded the first recorded hospice for travelers, and wrote the Eucharistic Liturgy which bears his name. Died 379 A.D.
Dog with torch, St. Dominic: Born a nobleman of Spain, he resigned all worldly honors for his Master. He established the Dominican order of Preaching Friars, and did not spare himself in his work for the glory of God. Died 1221 A.D.
Cross on the Rock: The rock is a symbol of our Lord, based on I Cor. 10:4. With a cross, it suggests the words of the Venite Exultemus, "Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation."
Heart, St. Valentine: A priest who was active in assisting the martyrs in time of persecution. He was famous for the love and charity which he manifested. Martyred 269 A.D.
Baptism of Jesus: The baptism of Jesus.
Dove: Symbolizes the Holy Spirit and peace. The dove brought an olive leaf to Noah to signify the end of the flood. Mark 1:10, Matt 3:16, Gen 8:10-11.
Bell: A bell calling to worship symbolizes the need of priority for the things of God over the secular. In general, the sounding forth of the Word.
Cock: A crowing cock (or rooster) represents Peter's denial of Jesus and is generally symbolic of infidelity in the face of danger or persecution. Because of their crowing early in the morning, the cock is also used as a symbol of watchfulness and vigilance.
Lily: Symbol of immortality and Easter. The bulb decays in the ground, yet from it new life is released.
Lamb: The Lamb Reclining on the Book of the Seven Seals is noted in Revelation 5:1. The lamb is reclining because He is the Wounded Lamb. The three-rayed nimbus denotes deity.
Lamp: A symbol for the Word of God.
Rope: Recalls the rope used to bind our Lord when he was led away to the high priest, and thus symbolizes the betrayal and arrest.
Ship: The Church sails unharmed through all perils. The word, "Nave" comes from the Latin word for "ship."
Three-Step Cross, Graded Cross: The steps, from the top down, stand for Faith, Hope and Charity.