Each saint has a story and a reason why he or she led an exemplary life. Symbols have been used to tell these stories throughout the history of the Church. A number of Christian saints are traditionally represented by a symbol or iconic motif associated with their life, termed an attribute or emblem, in order to identify them. The study of these forms part of iconography in Art history. They were particularly used so that the illiterate could recognize a scene, and to give each of the saints something of a personality in art. They are often carried in the hand by the saint. 
Attributes often vary with either time or geography, especially between Eastern Christianity and the West. Orthodox images more often contained inscriptions with the names of saints, so the Eastern repertoire of attributes is generally smaller than the Western. Many of the most prominent saints, like Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist can also be recognised by a distinctive facial type - as of course can Christ. In the case of later saints their actual historical appearance can also be used; Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444) is one of the earliest whose distinctive appearance was well-known from early prints and is nearly always used by artists. Some attributes are general, like the palm frond carried by martyrs.

The use of a symbol in a work of art depicting a saint reminds people who is being shown and of their story. The following is a list of some of these attributes.



Solemnity, negation-, sickness, death.

Black and white

Humility, purity of life.


Heavenly love, unveiling of truth. Traditional color of St. Mary, the Blessed Virgin. In the English Scheme of Liturgical Colors, blue is used in Advent and on the PreLenten 'Gesima Sundays


Renunciation of the world, spiritual death and degradation.


See white.


Ashes, humility, mourning.


Spring, triumph of life over death, charity, regeneration of soul through good works, hope. Epiphany and Trinity seasons.


Royalty, imperial power (God the Father).

Martyred saints, love, hate, sovereign power. Pentecost.


Love, truth, passion, suffering. In the western use, Advent and Lent.

White (Gold)                       

Innocence of soul, purity, holiness of life. Christmas, The Epiphany, Easter, The Ascension, Trinity Sunday, the      Transfiguration, All Saints, etc.

Yellow Dingy                              

Infernal light, Degradation, Jealousy, treason, deceit.

Religious Orders are sometimes represented by the colors of their habits :

The Benedictines, Augustinians, Jesuits, Cowley Fathers.
The Franciscans.

Dark brown
The reformed branch.

The reformed branch of the Benedictines, Cistercians, Praemonstratensians, the Order of the Holy Cross.
Black over white
The Dominicans.

White over brown
The Carmelites.

The Four Evangelists

ST. MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, AP.M. — The emblem of the "Divine Man" was assigned to St. Matthew in ancient times because his Gospel teaches us about the human nature of Christ. A gold angel on a red field.

ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST, M - The winged lion, ancient symbol of St. Mark, refers to his Gospel, which informs us of the royal dignity of Christ. A gold winged lion and nimbus on a red field.

ST. LUKE THE EVANGELIST, M. - The winged ox, assigned to St. Luke, is a reference to his Gospel, which deals with the sacrificial aspects of Christ's life. A gold ox and nimbus on a red field.

ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, AP. - The ancient symbol of a rising eagle is said to have been assigned to St. John because his gaze pierced further into the mysteries of Heaven than that of any man. The manner of his death is not known. A gold eagle rising and nimbus on a blue field.

The Twelve Apostles

ST. ANDREW, AP.M., 1st cen.-The patron of Russia, Scotland, and the Ecumeni-cal Patriarchate. According to tradition St.Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross, known as a saltire or St. Andrew's cross, in Achaia. A silver saltire on a blue field.

ST. BARTHOLOMEW, AP.M., 1st cen.- Armenia and India are believed to have been the areas of his missionary work. He is said to have been flayed alive and crucified. Flaying knives with silver blades and gold handles, on a red field.

ST. JAMES THE GREATER, AP.M., 1st cen. — The patron of Spain and of pilgrims. He is mentioned as the first of the disciples to go on a missionary journey. The escallop shells refer to pilgrimage. Three gold shells on a blue field.

ST. JAMES THE LESS, AP.M., 1st cen.- This symbol refers to the tradition that St.James was cast down from a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, stoned and sawn as under by the Jews. A saw with silverblade and gold handle, on a red field.

ST. JOHN, AP.EV., 1st cen. - This emblem of St. John, the "Beloved Apostle," refers to the legend of a poisoned chalice being offered to him, in an attempt made on his life. A gold chalice, a silver serpent, on a blue field.

ST. JUDE, AP.M., 1st cen.-The sailing vessel here represents the Church, which St. Jude (also known as Thaddeus or Lebbaeus) carried to many ports as he jour-neyed as a missionary. A gold ship with silver sails, on a red field.

ST. MATTHEW, AP.EV.M., l st cen.-The moneybags refer to the occupation of St.Matthew before he was called to follow Christ. He was a tax gatherer known as Levi. Silver moneybags, on a red field.

St. Matthias served as a missionary in Judaea, where he is said to have been stoned and beheaded. A battle axe with silver head and tawny handle, white open book within scription "super Mathiam" in black except the upper case "M", of red, all on are red field.

ST. PETER, AP.M., 1st cen.-Because he felt unworthy to die as had Christ, St. Peter requested that his cross be inverted so that he might look Heavenward as he was crucified. A gold cross, silver keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, all on a red field.

ST. PHILIP, AP.M., 1st cen.-It was to St. Philip that Christ addressed his remark concerning the feeding of the multitude.(St. John 6, 7). The roundels represent two loaves of bread. A gold cross, silver roundels, on a red field.

ST. SIMON, AP.M., 1st cen.-The companion of St. Jude on many missionary journeys, St. Simon was known as a great fisher of men through the power of the Gos-pel. A gold Book, page edges of white, silver fish, all on a red field.

ST. THOMAS, AP.M., 1st cen.-The patron of builders. He is said to have built a Church with his own hands in East India.The spear refers to the instrument of his martyrdom. A carpenter's square with silver blade and gold handle, spear with silverhead and tawny handle, all on a red field.

JUDAS ISCARIOT, 1st cen.-Thirty pieces of silver with a straw colored rope on a black field.


The white rose without thorns is a symbol of Mary, derived from the belief that Mary was without taint of original sin, as the rose was with out thorns when it grew in the Garden of Eden. In the Middle Ages, the Madonna was frequently depicted surrounded by roses.


In medieval churches, the rose window, like the rose, was closely associated with the Virgin Mary. Other symbolic connotations include eternity and the eye of God. The latter is significant because the main body of the church is designated as the nave, meaning “ship,” and so the circular rose window in it becomes its guiding eye. The window, both as an eye looking outward and as a filter of the inward, is an expressive symbol of Divine Light.


The shell is a symbol of the Virgin Mary because she carried Jesus, the precious pearl, in her womb. During the Middle Ages, ir was believed that the mussel was fertilized virginally by dewdrops. The shell also became a symbol of Christ’s sepulchre and of the Resurrection. Because of these interpretations, ir became customary to bury a mussel with a deceased believer as a sign of future resurrection from the dead. In Christian iconography. John the Baptist is shown pouring water from a shell onto Christ’s head. By the nineteenth century, silver and mother of-pearl baptismal scallop shells were in common use.


Another representation of Mary, this one not derived from nature, is Theorokos, from the Greek Theos, meaning “God,” and ,kzo, meaning “to give birth to.” Theotokos functions as a title for the devotional icons of the Virgin Mary seated on a throne holding the infant Jesus on her lap. The title was bestowed on the Virgin Mary by the Council of Ephesus in AD. 431.


A serpent wound around a cross was a symbolic Old Testament reference to Christ on the cross, a parallel drawn by Jesus himself (Num.21:8; John 3:14). Predating the death of Christ, the cross was a symbol of sufFering and self-denial (Mact. 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23;14:27).

While the cross is the primary symbol of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, other symbols of the Passion include the crown of thorns, thirty pieces of silver or a bag of coins, a lantern, gall and vinegar, a pillar, a cock, dice, a seamless robe, hyssop, a ladder, a Lance, a hammer, and nails and pincers.


In Christian iconography, the prickly plant teasel is used to symbolize the sufferings of Christ and the martyrs. Its thorny stalks recall Christs suffering under the crown of thorns, the symbol of grief and sorrow (Matt. 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:5).

Thorns and Thistles
Thorns and Thistles are symbols not only of God’s judgment on sin (Gen. 3:18; Isa. 5:6) but also of affliction and suffering (Num. 33:55; 1 Cor. 12:7 — Paul’s thorn in the flesh). Significantly, thorns made up the crown Jesus wore when he was crucified. Thorns also represent the fruit of dead works (Heb. 6:7.8) and the evils that spring from the heart to choke the truth (Matt. 13:7, 22). The unconsumed burning thorn bush through which the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses (Exod. 3:2-4) became a symbolic representation of Mary’s virginity in altar paintings of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that depicted Mary and the Christ child in the Burning Bush. Just as the holy fire did not consume what it inflamed, so Mary kept her virginity while becoming a mother.


Animals as different as the ox and the pelican symbolize the sacrifice of Christ. The ox was a sacrificial animal (Exod. 29:3, 10-14, 36; Lev. 4:8, 16; Num. 7:87-88; 28:11-31; 29) and in early patristic writing was designated as the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, an alternative co the symbol of the Iamb. In Christian art of the Nativity, the ox is shown with the ass.

The presence of the ox and the ass confirmed that the Christ child was the promised Messiah (Isa. 1:3; Hab. 32). A winged ox symbolizes the Gospel writer Luke, whose writing emphasizes the sacrifice of Christ.


Another symbol from early mythology is the pomegranate — a symbol of the Resurrection derived from its classical association with Persephone, who returned every spring to regenerate the earth. The pomegranate, sometimes seen in the hand of the Christ child (as in Fra Angelico’s Adoration of the Magi), heralds the return of spring and thus foretells his resurrection. In baroque art, the image of the pomegranate, split open to reveal its numerous seeds, stands for the generosity and boundless Love of God the Creator. In this connection, the pomegranate was possibly one of the fruits promised to the children of Israel in the Promised Land (Deuc. 8:8). with its countless seeds united in a single fruit, it was a reminder of individual believers united in church community. The red juice of the pomegranate became a symbol for the blood of the martyrs.


The eggs which in early Near Eastern religions was a spring symbol of creation, revival, and rebirth, has been adopted as a symbol for Easter. It is a Christian symbol of the Resurrection because the small chick breaks from the egg at its birth, just as Christ broke forth from the tomb. The egg, like che seed, contains the promise of new life and hope. The egg also represents chastity and purity, since the chick is protected within the shell.

The ostrich’s egg is a dual symbol. It came to represent the Virgin Birth of Jesus because of Job’s comment that the ostrich lays its eggs in the earth and leaves them to hatch themselves (39:13-14). Through the belief that the sun hatched the eggs of the ostrich, the egg also became an analogy for Christ’s resurrection from the tomb. From the Middle Ages onward, church inventories mention the placement of an ostrich egg on the alter on holy days such as Easter and Christmas. Even today, in many Coptic churches, the ostrich egg figures into the symbols related to the crucifìxion and resurrection of Christ. Sometimes a symbolic egg is hung at the feet of the crucified Christ; a noteworthy example is in the Burgos Cathedral in Spain.

On Holy Saturday the medieval church blessed the eggs that would be eaten by the believers the next day, before any other food was cacen. Many Orthodox churches still use Easter eggs that are blessed and painted red. Those given co important people are often elaborately decorated, as in the illustration here.


Two interesting symbols of the Resurrection are the gourd and the phoenix. The gourd represents the Resurrection because God caused a gourd to spring up and shade Jonah and deliver him from his grief (Jon. 4:6). The Palma Christi or castor-oil plant is held to be the “gourd” of Jonah. In religious art, the gourd represents (and also functions as an attribute of) pilgrims and pilgrim saints. In addition, the resurrected Christ on the road to Emmaus is shown dressed as a pilgrim and sometimes wearing a water-gourd.


The dove is the primary symbol of the Holy Spirit (Mart. 3:16; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) because the Holy Spirit was present as a dove at the baptism of Christ. In Christian art, the dove is depicted in representations of the Trinity and the Annunciation. In the Old Testament, the dove, with an olive branch in its mouth, became a symbol of the peace God made with humankind in the story of Noah’s Ark (Gen. 8:11). The dove also became a symbol of man making peace with God when it was offered as a sacrifice, as depicted in scenes of the purification or Jesus’ presentation in the Temple. The dove was one of the few birds permitted to be offered as a sacrifice under Mosaic Law (Lev. 1:14-17; 5:7-10; 12:6-8; 14:22; Num. 6:10).

Medieval art uses the dove to refer to the seven gifts of the Spirit (“the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, of godliness, and the fear of the Lord”; Isa. 11:2). In the New Testament, twelve doves symbolize the fruit of the Spirit (“love, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity”; Gal. 5:22-23).

In common usage, the dove symbolizes the soul departing at death, either leaving the body (seen in Russian and Greek Orthodox icons depicting the DormiTion of the Virgin) or Leaving The lips of saints. The departure of che dove symbolizes death, but The presence of the dove pecking at bread or drinking from a fountain represents the soul flourished by the Eucharistic bread and cup.


Fire is a symbol associated with both the Holy Spirit and God. In the Old Testament, fire represents the presence of God in his glory. In the New Testament, fire is a symbol of che presence of God the Holy Spirit (Mart. 3:11; Luke 3:16). The tongues of fire that came down on the Apostles at Pentecost symbolize their being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3).


The seven torches in Revelation are symbolic of the seven powers or spirits of God (Rev. 4:5). The seven-branched candlestick of Israel is used by some traditions to represent these powers. A torch is also the attribute of martyrs tortured with a torch (Saint Eutropius and Saint Dorothea). Prior to Christian usage, the torch was an attribute of vanous pagan gods and a symbol of life to the Greeks. In Renaissance funerary sculpture, the torch was a symbol of death.


The believer is often pictured in “orant” (from the Latin orans, meaning “to pray”). In this symbolic posture of prayer, the hands are raised to the level of the shoulders or head, and the palms are turned upward in a gesture of reception. This may be the oldest posture for prayer, appearing in Callistus’s catacomb as early as A.D. 180, and it is still used by priests in the celebration of the Mass. In tombstone art, the deceased are often portrayed in this posture. Icons of the Virgin Mary sometimes portray her in the orant posture.

Believers are also pictured in the more active posture of warriors. From the armor of faith that protects God’s people from cvii (1 Chron. 10:4; 2 Cor. 6:7; Eph. 6:11-18; 1 Thess. 5:8) to the helmet that is a symbol for the protection of salvation (Isa. 59:17; Eph. 6:17; 1 Thess. 5:8), the metaphors of armor communicate our protected vulnerability.

Chains and Fetters
Chains and fetters are symbols of the imprisonment and slavery of believers (Judg. 16:21; Pss. 2:3; 105:17-18; Acts 12:6-7; 21:33; 28:20; 2 Tim. 1:8,12, 16; Heb. 11:36). They sometimes testifi to our entrapment in weakness. But chains also symboLize the binding of Satan (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6;Rev. 2OE 1), and broken chains, like those pictured here, symbolize the overcoming of sLavery, the breaking of the bondage of sin. Dionysius theAreopagite (ca. A.D. 500) speaks of the Christian’s prayers as a goldenchain whose luminescence bridges the abyss between creature and creator.


The Chi Rho is a symbol derived from the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ (XPICTOC, pronounced “Christos”). The two letters can be combined in a variety of ways, as the illustration indicates. The Chi Rho has been a symbol of Christianity since the Time of Constantine. A banner displaying the Chi Rho is said to have been carried into battle when Constantine fought against Maxenrius in A.D. 312. When Constantine was victorious, the prophecy given him came to pass: “In hoc signo vinces” — “Under chis sign you will be victorious.” Used in primitive Christian arr, the Chi Rho monogram is commonly found on sarcophagi, Eucharistic vessels, and lamps. In liturgical churches the Chi Rho symbol is used to designate the pastoral office of the minister because the Greek letter rho (P), when stylized, looks like a shepherds  staff. Pastors, shepherds of their flocks, serve under Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25).


This is the ancient monogram for “Jesus Christ the Conqueror.” “IC XC” stands for “Jesus Christ”; NIKA is the Greek word for conqueror. These capitals are often arranged between the arms of a Latin cross in groups of two. Eastern Orthodox icons commonly feature a horizontal stroke above the letters “IC XC,” indicating that it is an abbreviation. In Orthodox icons of Christ, his raised right hand signs the letters “IC XC.” This monogram signifies Christ’s victory over the Cross.


IHC is derived from the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus (IHCOYC). A Latin interpretation of the letters “IHS” is “lesus Flominum Salvator,” meaning “Jesus the Savior of Mankind This usage is traced back to Bernardino of Siena (d. 1444), who displayed these
letters on a plaque when he preached. The Jesuit community adopted the monogram as their symbol, a mark of their membership in the Sociecy of Jesus. But the original meaning of the monogram is “In hocsigno (vinces),» meaning “In this sign thou wilt conquer.” IHS often appears in depictions of Constantine’s victory.

The hand has multiple meanings. Like the arm, the hand is used as a symbol of might and power (Ps. 31:15; Mark 14:41). The dropping of hands indicates weakness or lack of resolve (Isa. 13:7), whereas the lifting up of hands is a gesture of praise or supplication (Exod. 9:33; 17:1 1; Job 11:13; Ps. 28:2; 1 Tim. 2:8). Two people clasping hands is symbolicoían agreement (Job 17:3). Raising the right hand in a court of law is an early sign of taking an oath (Gen. 14:22; Exod. 17:16), and sitting at the right hand is sitting in the place of favor (Ps. 45:9). The laying on of hands is a symbol of blessing, power, and the communication of authority and benediction (Gen. 48:13-14; Lev. 1:4; 9:22: Num. 8:10-11; 27:18-23; Deut. 34:9; Matt. 19:13; 10:16; Luke 24:50; Acts 8:17-19; 19:11; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6). The laying on of hands is also a gesture of healing (Mark 6:5; 7:32; 16:18; Luke 4:40; Acts 28:8). The ceremonial washing of hands isa symbol of cleansing (Matt. 15:2; Mark 7:2-5). Clapping hands is a sign of joy (2 Kings 11:12; Ps. 47:1).

Because of its readiness to mate, the hare has been a symbol of lust and fertility. The white hare portrayed at the feet of the Virgin Mary is a symbol of triumph over the desires of the flesh. 

The harp or lyre is a symbol of music that brings glory to God in worship (1 Sam. 16:15-23; 1 Chron. 13:8; Pss. 33:2; 137:2; Amos 6:5; Rev. 5:8; 14:2). In architectural mosaics the lyre is adorned with the six-pointed Star of David, a symbol of the Jewish faith and the state of Israel.

The heart is a symbol of love and devotion. According to Scripture, the heart is the inner person, the moral and spiritual center (1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Kings 15:3; Job 29:13;Pss.4:7; 15:2;27:3; 111:1; 119:11; Prov. 17:22; 23:26; 25:20; Jer. 11:20; 17:9; Ezek. 44:7; Joel 2:13; Matt. 5:28; 11:29; 12:34; 15:8; Mark 12:30; Luke 2:19,51; Acts 2:37; 2 Cor. 3:3; 5:12). In Roman Catholic devotional arr, when the heart appears in flames, it stands for ardor. A heart pierced with three nails and encircled by a crown of thorns is called the “sacred heart.” During the seven-teenrh century this depiction was widely venerated. The heart pierced
by a spear is a Passion symbol. When combined with a cross and an anchor, it stands for Charity in the Three Graces — Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Honey is a symbol of provision, abundance, and blessing (Exod. 3:8; Lev. 20:24; Deut. 8:8; 32:13; Ps. 8 1:16; Ezek. 20:6). The sweetness of honey describes the sweetness of God’s words (Ps. 119:103; Ezek. 3:3; Rev. 10:9).

Many primitive traditions, including the tradition of the Israelites, associate horns with strength and power (2 Sam. 22:3; 1 Kings 22:11; jer. 48:25; Dan. 7:15-28; Hab. 3:4; Zech. 1:18-21). The horn is both a symbol of divine strength (Luke 1:69; Rev. 5:6) and a symbol of the satanic dragon’s infernal powers (Rev. 12:3). Other apocalyptic uses of the horn are found in Daniel 7 and 8 and Revelation 13 and 17.

The horn was used as a receptacle for anointing oil (1 Sam. 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39) and as a musical instrument. There were four horns on the corners of the altars in the tabernacle and the Temple (Exod. 29:12; Lev. 4:7, 18; 1 Kings 1:50; 2:28).

The horse is an embodiment of vitality and power (Job 39:19-25). In medieval imagery the horse usually has a rider, the two forming one symbol, typically representing Jesus Christ incarnate. The horse represents his humanity, the rider his divinity. Almost all sacred or miraculous horses are white. The four horses of different colors in Revelation are divine instruments of judgment on the enemies of God’s people. The colors may represent geographical points of the compass (Rev.6:1-17; 19:11-16; cf. Zech. 6:1-8). Of the four horses and riders appearing in this vision, Christian symbolism has kept only the first, the white horse and rider, as the image of the victorious Christ.

The owl, a nocturnal bird, is a symbol of night and sleep. In the Old Testament, it is listed among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:16-17; Deur. 14:15-16), and in Christian symbolism, it represents spiritual darkness.

Despite these negative connotations, the owl was a sign of meditation in medieval monasteries because it was known to stay in the saine place in a tree all day long. In the twelfth century, Eustathius, archbishop of Thessalonica, expressed the view that che owl’s clear vision at night was due to its powerful eyes, which could dissolve the shadows. This corresponds to Christ, who is all-seeing — and who is also the Light of the World.

The palm began as a symbol of pagan victory, as can be seen from the design of sorne classical triumphal arches. But this motif was also used by Solomon in the temple he built (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35). In the Christian era it became a symbol of the victory of faith over che suffering of martyrdom. k is closely tied to the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The path is an ancient symbol of life’s pilgrimage (Pss. 17:5; 119:35, 105; Prov. 4:18; 15:24; Isa. 42:16; 45:13). Scripture gives particular significance to the motif of two paths — the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly (Ps. 1; Ps. 139). The letter Y is a symbol of the forked path, which emphasizes choice.

In his teaching, Christ used references to the pearl an two different ways. The “pearl of great value” refers to the kingdom of heaven (Mart. 13:45-46). And the caution nor to throw “pearls before swine” refers to safeguarding what is holy — the word of God (Mart. 7:6).

In medieval paintings the peony, a rose without a thorn, is a symbol of Mary.

Quince is a fruit shaped like an apple, the forbidden fruit, thus symbolizing sin and temptation.

Most cultures interpret rain as a symbol of heavenly workings on earth. In Scripture rain is a sign of God’s providential care (Deut. 11:13- 14; Job 37:6-7; Isa. 30:23; Jer. 5:24; 14:22; Hos. 6:3; Mic. 5:7).

Originally the rainbow was the sign of God’s promise that the earth would never again be destroyed by flood (Gen. 9:8.17). In medieval depictions of Christ as ruler, he is seated on a rainbow, a reference to this covenant with humankind. In many cultures the rainbow is a manifestation of divine benevolence.

In Christian tradition the raven has been associated with Satan and sin because it is an “unclean” bird of prey, although it has also been associated with solitude because it prefers to live apart from the flock. Another positive association comes from the story of Elijah. When he fled from Ahab to the brook Cherith, ravens fed him, a reminder of God’s providence and of hope (1 Kings 17:1-6).

Right, Right Hand 
In many cultures, the right is regarded as the better side. In Scripture ir is the side of strength, security, and salvation (Job 40:14; Pss. 16:8; 17:7; 18:35; 20:6; 60:5; 63:8; 73:23; 77:10; 98:1; 110:1,5; 118:15-16; 138:7; 139:10). The seat on the right hand of God or an important personage is regarded as a preferred place of honor (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22). And the right hand is used for blessing (Gen. 48:17- 18;Ps. 16:11; Rev. 1:17).

This biblical emphasis is reflected in Christian art. In the icons of Christ as Pantocrator (Ruler), his right hand is raised in the gesture of blessing. In scenes depicting the Last Judgment, the chosen stand at the right side of Christ, the damned at his left. In depictions of the Crucifixion, the repentant thief is on Christ’s right side.

Fine robes connote privilege and authority (Luke 15:22; John 19:5; Rev. 6:11). They have salvific meaning in Isaiah 6 1:10: “My whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Rod, Staff The rod or staff is a symbol of authority (Gen. 49:10; Exod.

Rod, Staff 
The rod or staff is a symbol of authority (Gen. 49:10; Exod. 4:20; Num. 17;Judg. S:14;Jer. 48:17; Heb. 9:4), as well as of divine protection and guidance (Ps. 23:4).

Royal Doors 
In Eastern Orthodox churches, the royal doors are made of two panels located at the center of the iconostasis (the screen or wall that separates the sanctuary and the nave) and serve as the connection between the nave and the sanctuary. They are called ‘4royal” because Jesus Christ the King is carried through them in the form of the Eucharist (Ps. 24:7).

In later medieval art, the motif ola ruined building represented the Old Dispensation (Judaism) and served as a contextual backdrop for scenes of the Nativity of Christ and the Adoration of the Magi. Later, in Italian Renaissance paintings, ruins are classical in style and
symbolize the decay of the pagan world. 

Sackcloth was a coarse cloth made from goats’ hair, dark in color (Rev. 6:12). Ir was worn as a sign of grief (Gen. 37:34; 2 Sam. 3:31; Esther 4:l;Job 16:15; Lam. 2:l0;Joel 1:8), as a sign of penitence for sins (1 Kings 21:27; Neh. 9:1;Jon. 3:5; Matt. 11:21), or as a sign of special petition for deliverance (2 Kings 19:1-2; Dan. 9:3). Often the penitents also covered themselves with ashes to complete the symbolism. In isaiah 50:3 a reference to sackcloth is used to indicate God’s rebuke of his people: “I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.”

A sacrament is an outward symbol or sign, from the Latin sacramentum, meaning “sacred obligation,” a divinely instituted rite sig. nif’-ing and conferring grace. Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians recognize seven: Baptism, the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist), Confirmation, Confession (Penance), Holy Orders (for clergy), Matrimony, and Extreme Unction. Protestant churches recognize Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The depictions of the sacraments flourished ¡n the art of the Counter-Reformation, a reaction co the Reformation’s denial of the sacramental validity of penance and the Protestants’ rejection of transubstantiation.