I have this symbol over the entrance of my apartment. I have been told it is a Catholic symbol, and the owner of the flat is probably Catholic since it is the dominant faith here.

Searching on Google has not brought much information. Any idea what it means?

enter image description here

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    Keys and Sword are usually associated with St. Peter. The Axe for St. Matthew but that pitchfork with the weird cross looks demonic. – Peter Turner Apr 11 '14 at 3:51
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    Is it possible to say which country is this from, what size is it and what is it made of? – Jayarathina Madharasan Apr 11 '14 at 15:15
  • The hole is quite interesting, could you get a closer image of it (to possibly determine how it was made)? – The Freemason Apr 11 '14 at 20:03
  • It is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and the diameter is 6 cm. It's made of some metal but not sure which one, I assume nothing precious otherwise anybody could take it. – laurent Apr 11 '14 at 20:31
  • I am not even sure that this is a Catholic symbol! – Ken Graham Feb 15 '18 at 13:47

I believe these are symbols of martyred apostles.

  • Key: Peter
  • Sword: Paul
  • Axe: Possibly Matthew
  • Trident: Thomas

Jacob Prahlow has collected some research.

Although an upside-down cross is associated with Peter, he was given the keys of the kingdom (Cf. Matthew 16:19) and the key is a very common symbol.

Paul, a Roman citizen, was executed by the sword rather than crucified. While the date of his death is rather hazy, the place is known and there is an enormous basilica on the site. Paul is very often depicted with one or two swords: the sword of truth and the sword of martyrdom.

Both Matthew and James brother of John are traditionally held to have been martyred by beheading. James is recorded in Acts 12 as being killed “by the sword” — Matthew’s death is not recorded, but one tradition is that he died by the axe.

One legend of Thomas’ death in India is that he was killed with a trident.

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  • What about that thing on the end of the trident? I was researching it last night and I found the exact same thing in some brazillian voodoo symbols. – Peter Turner Apr 11 '14 at 12:21
  • I suspect that it's nothing more than a decorated handle, perhaps simply to fill the space in the shield. – Andrew Leach Apr 11 '14 at 12:58

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