Questions tagged [symbolism]

The practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships.

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1answer
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Is there a Christian equivalent of Mandala (word or symbol)?

During a recent visit to Canterbury Cathedral particular circular patterns on the floors (pictured) reminded me of the circular patterns of Mandalas. I was wondering if these are simply 'for ...
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Chimera Image on my leather jacket?

I have a leather jacket that just picked up from a girl who was selling it and I didn’t notice that it had a Chimera on its back. Truthfully, the image disturbs me a bit. I don’t want to curse my ...
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Ancient imagery beasts used in Christian symbolisms?

Ancient imagery beasts used in Christian symbolisms? We have all heard of unicorns! The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a single large, ...
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What symbols are preferred among certain denominations more than others?

I am compiling a list of common themes or symbols to be used for decoration around the different denominations or to be given as gifts for members of that church. I am in the USA and only interested ...
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1answer
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What is the purpose of the rosary and why do some differ in the amount of beads they contain?

Should a Rosary be made of six or twelve beaded sections? Does it symbolize something specific or is it simply an object created to reflect something in the Catholic religion?
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Why is the Ichthys symbol almost always facing left?

This question is very straight forward: is there any reason for the Ichthys symbol to be almost always facing left? A simple google search will show this pattern. Is there any theology or even ...
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1answer
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Do the ancient churches built by the Portuguese have a statue of mermaid on the façade?

My parish church (St Mary's Forane Church, Muttom, Cherthala, Kerala ) in southern India, believed to have been built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century has, among other images, two built-in ...
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What does the symbology in this painting of the Trinity mean?

This image is in a Catholic hospital in Spokane, WA. I understand the Father/Son/Holy Spirit symbology, the ABBA reference, and the initials of the Christ. But three things in this image I cannot ...
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Why is the RCA church more literal in scripture where the UCC church is allegorical?

I’ve attended numerous churches in both RCA and UCC denominations in which RCA had a very literal take on the crucifixion and resurrection where the UCC church has a very allegorical approach. ...
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1answer
143 views

Was it possible for Catholics to express their faith openly in England during the time of persecution?

Was it possible for Catholics to express their faith openly (if at all) in Britain during the time of the of English persecutions (April 29, 1559)-(April 13, 1829)? On 29 April 1559, the English ...
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Besides St. Casimir, are any other saints portrayed with three hands in iconography?

Other than the icon of St. Casimir in Vilnius (below), are there other examples of saints with three hands? Does a third hand make up part of the iconography of St. John the Evangelist? Image by ...
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Why are a Catholic bishop's Coat of Arms green and not purple?

Why are a Catholic bishop's Coat of Arms green and not purple? The Canadian Conference of Bishops tell us that the galero and tassels on the Coat of Arms for a bishop are green. Cardinals' galero and ...
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Which denominations regulate how a cross is worn on the body? [closed]

In public and private, people wear many different crosses in many manners. Which denominations hold any principles, explicit or implicit, that govern the display of crosses on the body? Speculating, ...
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The rules on how and when people can wear a cross [closed]

Which principles govern the wearing of crosses? Do some denominations require that it touch the skin, or that it never be removed? Will a cross hung on the neck and one on an ear have different ...
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Was it common in Biblical and Early Church times to use sports for illustrating sermons and lessons (as Pope Francis and Paul did)?

The Ancient Olympic Games were a very famous event in ancient times. Taking advantage of their popularity, Paul used them (specifically, the Stadion/200 metres and boxing games) in 1 Corinthians 9:24-...
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What was the difference between Berengar's view of the Eucharist and that of Zwingli?

Berengar of Tours played a major role in the Second Eucharistic Controversy, which took place in the 11th century. He opposed the increasing acceptance of proto-transubstantiation doctrines, arguing ...
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Why did Magdalena use her hair to dry Jesus' feet? [closed]

I don't really understand this part of the story in Luke 7:38. Why would Mary Magdalena use her hair to dry Jesus' feet? I have some clues, but I don't want to guide the replies. I'd like to know both,...
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What does the letters 'JHS' mean?

Can you tell me what the letters JHS mean? You can see them on the picture below. I am from Slovakia (East Europe) and we speak Slovak and these letters are from Catholic church. I saw these letters ...
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Prior to 1900 were there any depictions of Satan in Christian art as a woman/female?

Are there any Christian symbolic depictions Satan in art as a woman? In Christian art, Satan has often been depicted as a man (male) or some evil looking monster out of man's imagination of what the ...
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Why is the interlocking-squares (gammadia) a symbol of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

I was reading about the relatively new discovery of the Apostle Phillip's gravesite in Turkey, and it briefly mentioned that the square was represented in his grave and it was significant because the ...
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What is the origin and meaning of this symbol?

The symbol in the attached photo is on the side of a 1940s motorcycle purchased from a police vehicle auction. The symbol in question is mounted on the frame near the rear axle. Can anyone shed light ...
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What is the biblical basis of the “goats are evil” trope?

Having spent some time cuddling and playing with goats, which are delightful creatures, I have to ask: What is the biblical basis of the association, common even among Christians, of goats with Satan ...
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Lutherans: Shells, baptism, why?

Since I am almost certain someone will come in and think the title of this question needs editing, I'm going to request that you leave it as it stands. The full/expanded question: I have seen shells ...
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Why is beating one's breast used to show sadness and guilt? [closed]

According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus definition: Beat your breast/chestTo show how sad or guilty you feel in an obvious or public way I understand what is meant ...
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Is there a historical reason why the liturgical colour purple eventually replaced black to symbolize penance?

Is there a historical reason why the liturgical colour purple eventually replaced black to symbolize penance? This question does not have its' answer in the difference between the two forms of the ...
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Why do Popes have seven candlesticks on the altar at Mass?

Why is it that Popes have seven candlesticks on the altar when they pontificate a Solemn Mass? This is something that I have noticed at several Papal Masses. Sometimes the candlestick is set next to ...
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How did the four living creatures become associated with the Gospel writers?

The visions of Ezekiel recorded in Ezekiel 1 and that of John in Revelation 4:7 include four living creatures (ζῷα) that stand in the presence of the throne of God. In both visions these heavenly ...
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Christian Flag symbol [duplicate]

I have seen a symbol on my way to work and am wondering what it means. It is a flag with a Red Cross on a black background and there is a red upside down triangle in the upper right corner that ...
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What is the significance of the donkey Jesus rode on Palm Sunday?

I'm working on different symbols of Palm Sunday. Has anyone done work on the significance of the donkey Jesus rode on?
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What does the abbreviation “RNIO” mean in a painting of the Virgin and Child?

In the Crivelli painting "The Virgin and Child with Infants Bearing Symbols of the Passion" there is (at the right, under a bare tree) an injured (?) knight with a red shield inscribed with the ...
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When was the number of the beast, 666, first identified as referring to Emperor Nero?

The belief that the number of the beast in Revelation, 666, refers to Nero is a common theory now. When was this identification first suggested?
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What is the Christian symbol of the unicorn, and what does it suggest? [duplicate]

What is the Christian symbol of the unicorn, and what does it suggest? I have seen it in the seals of certain churches.
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Is the Holy Spirit the 'Seven Spirits' in Revelation 1:4? [duplicate]

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ ...
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Why did this Early Version of the Watchtower Magazine include Crosses, and what do these other Symbols on the Magazine Represent?

The following is "Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, October 1, 1907." I was under the impression that symbols (especially crosses) were not allowed in the church. "Jehovah's ...
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How did the Roman Punishment “cross” became a holy symbol to Christians? [duplicate]

The Romans used the cross as punishment to those who didn't follow Roman laws & principles. How then did the Roman punishment "cross" became a holy symbol to Christians?
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What is the significance of what Jesus ate after his resurrection?

Is anyone aware of any special symbolic significance of Jesus eating specifically fish and honeycomb while showing his disciples he was not "a spirit" when he appeared to them (and somewhat scared ...
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What is the significance of colour purple in the robe that Jesus was made to wear?

Was there any significance to the colour purple, as described by the evangelists while mentioning the robe that Jesus was made to put on before His crucifixion? Both John 19:2 and Mark 15:7 mentioning ...
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Hearing Bell sounds - What does the Bible say about bells? [closed]

Recently I have heard many bell sounds during times of heavy spiritual warfare & physical troubles. I know i'm not crazy because I've had relatives and friends hear them as-well. They come from ...
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What is the meaning of the large statue of a pine cone in Vatican City?

What is the meaning of this statue in Vatican City?
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Blessings of objects by the Priest

Is there an official list of objects that must be blessed by a priest for a variety of purposes? General Example: religious coins, saint necklaces, anniversary gifts given to or from someone etc. ...
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When did the “upside down cross” become a symbol of anti-Christianity?

When did the "upside down cross" become a symbol of anti-Christianity? I can find no mention of it in the Bible. However there is, in Christian history, the story of Peter's execution – which really ...
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Is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves and impart blessings with the Cross?

Among the Christians who make the sign of the cross [cf. this @fredsbend's answer], is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves with the Cross? The best answer will also include when ...
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What is the meaning of 'the Sun and the Moon' in Joseph's dream?

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it ...
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What is the significance of Jesus' spitting on the ground in the book of John?

Why does Jesus spit on the ground and make clay to anoint the blind man's eyes? What does this represent? Is the need to wash the anointing off significant? John 9:6-7 NIV After saying this, he ...
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Do the angels in Ezekiel 1:10 represent the 4 aspects of creation according to evangelicals?

Ezekiel 1:10 tells of the heavenly creatures with the faces of humans, eagles, lions, and oxen: As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the ...
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Is this a christian symbol?

Can someone tell me which sect this comes from, if any? It's from the back of a book or folder used by an Officiant in a wedding video. Thanks!!
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Why are babies dressed in white during a Roman Catholic christening?

Why are babies dressed in white during a Roman Catholic christening (aka baptism)? Is the color symbolic or anything? Can any other color be worn? Similarly, are there some sort of color restrictions ...
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What does this Catholic symbol mean?

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 ...
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What is the reason and meaning of the symbols on the garments worn by Temple-worthy LDS members?

I understand that the sacred garments worn by temple-worthy LDS members include symbols of 1) the square, 2) the compass, and 3) the navel mark, and 4) the knee mark. I know that some of the symbols ...
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Why do Carmelite nuns change headwear?

In this movie regarding the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, the girl who wants to become a saint, there is a scene wherein she changes the color of her clothing and headdress after participating some ...