SYMBOLS OF THE FAITH

Alpha & Omega
The first and Last letters in the Greek alphabet, signifying the beginning and end or eternal. In Rabbinic literature, the word emet (“truth”), composed of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, is “the seal of God,” – often combined with the cross, chi rho.

Anchor
The anchor is a very early Christian symbol that has been found in the catacombs. It brings together the cross and the various nautical Christian symbols (fish, boat, dolphin), and it symbolizes Christian hope in Christ.

Arch of the Covenant
The holiest of holies, housed the tablets of the 10 commandments..

Book
The Bible, the word of God. Knowledge. If open: Manifestation, if closed: Counsel

Borromean rings
Used to symbolize the holy Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) in different contexts to indicate strength in unity.

Bread
The body of Christ. .

Butterfly
Symbol of resurrection and transformation for it disappears into a cocoon and emerges far more beautiful and powerful.

Chi-Rho
A Christogram representing either Christ or Christianity. Consisting of the intersection of the capital Greek letters Chi (Χ) and Rho (Ρ), which are the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, Christos).

Also known as the labarum, which is based on the Latin word laureum, “military standard.” This is based on Constantine’s application of the Chi-Rho symbol to his military standard after receiving his famous vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312.

Circle
The circle represents eternity and the everlastingness of God. No beginning and no end. When three circles intertwine, they represent the equality, unity, and co-eternal nature of the three divine persons of the Blessed Trinity.

Cross
The Crucifixion of Christ, the cross is used as a broad symbol for Christianity. The salvation and redemption of mankind through the death and Resurrection of Christ. Crosses may be stylized although all represent Christ’s victory over sin and death..

Chalice
The cup or vessel from which the ‘Blood of Christ’ was drunk at the Last Supper. Part of the Eucharist and the Redemption of mankind. In modern design, the Chalice has come to symbolize the human’s heart yearning to be filled with the true (wine) spirit of the Lord.

Crown
Representing Christ the King and Messiah. Regal or senior authority, heavenly reward. The supreme sovereignty – King of Kings. a symbol of victory and reward.

Crown & Cross
symbolizing the reward in heaven (the crown) coming after the trials in this life (the cross).

Crozier or Shepherds Staff
Representative of the shepherd’s watchfulness. pastoral authority, herder of men “the flock”, often used with the office of Bishop. Episcopal jurisdiction and authority.

Dove
Symbol of the holy spirit. Also a symbol for peace.

Eagle
Protector, a person of action, noble nature, power, strength. An eagle is used to represent Christ and the Ascension. Also signifies baptized Christians, who have symbolically died and risen with Christ.

When the eagle has a halo it is the symbol of John the Evangelist because of his lofty and “soaring” gospel

Fiocchi
The knots of silk used in christian heraldry to denote the ranking of a bishop of the church. Usually depicted in different colors hanging down under a galero or bishops mitre on either side of a shield. Representing apostolic succession and authority.

Fire
Purity, it can denote the Resurrection and the process of physical and spiritual transformation by which man becomes a better and/or spiritual being also representing the presence of God

Fish
Early Symbol for Christian Faith.

Fleur de lis
French for lily. The 3 prongs of a Fleur de lis represent the Trinity.

Fruit
Christ is sometimes referred to as the “First Fruit of the Virgin,” (Phil. 1:11) and as such the Redemption of man comes through Christ, the second Adam, bearer of the fruits of Righteousness. Fruit also depicts the good life, abundance and sustenance, a fullness of inner reflection..

Globe
The Globe surmounted by a cross signifies Christ’s rule over the earth as its Saviour. The Globe depicts our world. All nations

Grapes
A symbol for the transformation of Christ’s blood into wine (food) for his flock. It also refers of man’s spiritual transformation through the blood of Christ.

Hands
Faith, sincerity, justice. When depicted emerging from a cloud, signifies the Hand of God. Can also depict worship or praise.

Heart
A universal symbol of love, ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matt. 6:21 and also Luke 6:45) The Sacred heart of Jesus – drawn as a heart pierced by three nails and encircled by the Crown of Thorns. The “Immaculate” Heart of Mary is pierced by a sword (for the sufferings she bore being the mother of Jesus) and encircled by a wreath of roses.

Key
Unlocking the kingdom of heaven

IHS
The Christogram or abbreviation Jesus, “IHS” or “IHC”, denotes the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, iota-eta-sigma. The Greek letter iota is represented by I, and the eta by H, while the Greek letter sigma is either in its lunate form, represented by C, or its final form, represented by S

Lamb
The Lamb of God (Agnus Dei). The first incarnation of Christ, the sacrificial lamb. It refers to Jesus Christ in his role of the perfect sacrificial offering, who’s sacrifice to suffer at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of God, an “agent and servant of the Father. , “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” in John 1:29.
Standing with a banner – represents the risen Christ triumphant over death. Standing with a cross and a gash in its side – symbolizes the passion of Christ.
Seated on a throne or a book – represents the judgment of Christ.

Lamp
The Divine Light. Depicts Wisdom and Knowledge. A symbol of Christ, ‘And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.’ (Rev. 21:23).

Lions
Lions represent power and strength. The conquering Lion of Judah, the second reincarnation of the Christ. The ‘king of beasts’ depicting Jesus as the Messianic king. “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ (Rev. 5:5 and also Gen. 49:9-10) The lion is also the symbolic attribute of St. Mark.

Light or Radiance
A symbol of God. The first creation (Gen. 1:1) Its very presence enforces the notion that darkness is nothing at all – but the absence of light. Jesus is the “Light of the World.” “…who will bring to light the things now hidden … and will disclose the purposes of the human heart..” (1 Cory. 4:5) Heavenly light, “I shall light in your heart the lamp of understanding, which shall not be put out…” (2 Esdras 14:25)

Mandoria/Aureole
A Mandorla is a Vesica Piscis shaped aureola which surrounds the figures of Christ and the Virgin Mary in traditional Christian art. The term refers to the almond like shape: “mandorla” means almond nut in Italian. It is traditionaly used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration. In medieval Christianity, the mandorla generally represents the Ichthys, the wounds of Jesus.

Mitre
Symbol of authority, Bishop’s headpiece, a symbol of the office of Bishop. Two short lappets always hang down from the back

Mountain
A symbol of spiritual elevation. Permanence, Steadfastness and unwavering.

Oil
A symbol of anointing

Olive Tree/Branch
The olive tree, depicts the covenant God had with Noah, not to destroy the world. It is a symbol of peace.

Ox
Symbolizes long suffering, patience and self-giving. The symbolic attribute of St. Luke.

Palm
The symbol for martydom and the symbol for victory over death

Peacock
a symbol of immortality. Ancient people believed that the flesh of a peafowl did not decay after death.

Pelican
Symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, to redeem mankind (because he gave his blood for others) as well as the Eucharist (because it represents Christ’s blood and provides spiritual nourishment)

Pomegranate
A symbol of the resurrection and the hope of eternal life.

Pillars
Heavenly support, the fortification on all levels. It is a symbol of strength and guidance. In 1 Kings 7:15-22, Solomon erects two pillars named Jachin and Boaz, at the entrance to his famed Temple. Two pillars represent the duality resolved by the pathway between them and leading into a new life.

Quatrefoil
A stylized 4 petaled flower or 4-lobbed leaf. Represents the 4 winds (directions.) Symbolizes a learned view of faith, deep belief, an exploration of inner conscious: the reflective soul.

Rainbow
A connection heaven and earth, the symbol of reconciliation between man and God

Rock
A symbol of permanence, of steadfastness and stability

River
The waters of life and its endless flux. Abundance, life-giver, In Ezekiel the sacred river flows out of the temple ‘And wherever the river goes every lining creature which swarms will live. Revelations speaks of the four rivers of Paradise. This symbol has been traditionally tagged to the four Gospels.

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