Dove as a Christian Symbol

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Dove with olive branch in mouth, plus Chi-Rho
Inscription of Bincentia, flanked by theChi-Rho symbol, basket (indicating good works), and dove with olive branch; Catacomb of S. Sebastiano, Rome. Showing inscription

Early Christians often had a dove on their tombs as a symbol of the peace and happiness of the soul. The olive branch symbol comes from the story of Noah, who after the flood dispatched a dove to find dry land and finally returned with an olive branch in its mouth (Genesis 8:11).

Occassionally in the earliest Christian art the dove is used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Of course, later it was very common.

Alexandra in pace, dove and orante
The inscription in pace ("in peace") with the dove and orante describe the peaceful state of the dead in Christ.
anchors, dove, olive tree
Two anchors a dove with an olive sprig in its mouth (top left), with an olive tree (right).

 

Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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