Every faith and religion has some symbols that are significant and unique to it. These symbols can be a figure, an object, a colour or more and each has its own profound meaning. They help followers remember the various ideologies and values attached to their religion and remain faithful to them. Christianity too has its fair share of religious symbols and in this article, we explore some of them.
1: THE CROSS AND CRUCIFIX:
Today we see the cross everywhere, often as a sign of beauty adorned with jewels and forget that it is originally and foremost, a symbol denoting a brutal and horrific death. Execution on the cross was considered the highest form of humiliation by the early Romans back then. However, Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was not seen in the same way. His greatest loss instead became his greatest victory for the cross is now observed and celebrated as a sign of Christ’s defeat over death.
The symbol came to be used and revered from the 15th century.
2: THE PEACOCK: The Ancient Greeks believed that the peacock’s flesh did not decompose upon death. It suffered none of the decay brought by death and hence became an important symbol for resurrection and immortality in Christianity. The symbol also represented eternal life in heaven with God and was used in a lot of paintings, mosaics and to complement depictions of the tree of life.
3: THE PELICAN:
It was believed that Pelicans loved their young so much, they would wound themselves and let the young drink the blood to keep them alive and well fed. This is similar to Christ pouring out his blood and flesh as a sign of sins forgiven, as well as the Eucharist and thus, the bird came to be recognised as a symbol of Christ’s love and passion.
4: THE ANCHOR:
The anchor was seen as a symbol of safety and hope in one’s future existence. Christians regard Christ as an unfaltering sense of hope for all that reaches out to him and thus they regard the anchor as a symbol portraying this hope in their Lord.
5: THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA:
The use of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet as a symbol in Christianity is derived from Jesus saying of himself “I am the Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last, The Beginning and the End”. The letters put together shows the eternity of the Lord.
6: THE DOVE:
It is said during the Baptism of Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit took the form of a dove and descended down to rest on Jesus. As a result, today the dove is used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and revered by Christians.