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are often shown surrounding the Glorified Savior, each dove surrounded by…rays of glory.”2 3. Doves also symbolize purity, restoration and peace. This is demonstrated in the story of Noah, when the dove brought back an olive branch, showing God’s renewed peace towards humanity (Genesis 8). This form of the dove is seen frequently on burial markers symbolizing eternal peace. 4. If the dove is shown hovering over a saint or resting on the saint’s shoulder, particularly
if the saint is holding a scroll or manuscript, the dove symbolizes divine inspiration. 5. A dove proceeding from the mouth of a dying martyr symbolizes the person’s soul departing the body and heading towards Heaven. 6. The dove can symbolize a Christian. Matthew 10:16 commands believers to be as harmless as doves. This interpretation of the dove was very popular in the art of the catacombs. 7. The Bestiaries tell us of different colors of doves. Each color has a special meaning: a red dove for the blood Jesus shed to redeem us; a speckled dove for the twelve prophets; a gold dove for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who refused to worship the false god; a light blue dove for the prophet Elisha; a black dove for vague sermons; a gray dove for Jonah; and a white dove for John the Baptist. 8. If a dove with a three-rayed halo is hovering over a body of water, it symbolizes Creation.

DRAGON (Serpent) – 1. The dragon symbolizes Satan, that crafty serpent who tempted Adam and Eve to sin for the first time against God. In paintings, he is depicted as the main enemy of God. Often the dragon


is portrayed as being killed by the ArchangelMichael, who threw him out of Heaven (Revelation 12:7). 2. The Bestiaries tell us a great deal about dragons. Their great strength is in their tails, not their teeth. They will wait in hiding until their prey comes by, grab them and strangle them. Satan is likened to a dragon because of its crafty nature. The dragon has a high crest on its head and a small mouth. The high crest is its crown of pride. When it flies, it stirs up the air, making the air glisten. This is like Satan, who makes himself appear as an angel of light. 3. The dragon symbolizes paganism. “In his ‘Ecclesiastical History’ Eusebius relates that Constantine caused himself to be depicted piercing a dragon of paganism with his lance.”3

DUCK – 1. The duck symbolizes gossip. 2. A duck that is carved into church doors is there as a reminder to worshippers to enter quietly so as not to distract others trying to worship.

EAGLE – 1. The eagle is symbolic of the resurrection and of renewal (Isaiah 40:31). The Bestiaries state that the eagle, when it gets old, loses its good eyesight and its feathers become heavy and ragged. The eagle flies high into the sky towards the sun. When it gets close to it, the
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© 2016 By Doug Gray. All Rights Reserved.