Jesus' Parables for Disciples
Dove as a Christian Symbol
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.
- Sarcophagus in Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome (c. 270 AD) shows a baptism scene overlooked by a dove, obviously representing the Holy Spirit.
- Fresco of doves decoration arching over tomb area. Catacombs.
- Fresco of doves, vase, and palm branches, catacombs.
- Small clay lamps with Christian symbols were found in the catacombs also.
- Fresco of doves, peacock, partridge? with a bowl of fruit, Catacombs of St. Sebastian, Rome, decoration of a columbarium, third century. Another.
The inscription in pace ("in peace") with the dove and orante describe the peaceful state of the dead in Christ.
Two anchors a dove with an olive sprig in its mouth (top left), with an olive tree (right).
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