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1910 New Catholic Dictionary


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In Christian antiquity, a symbol and a Eucharistic vessel.

As a symbol of the Holy Spirit it is specially connected with Baptism (Matthew 3). In pictures of the Annunciation it signifies the Incarnation of Our Saviour by the power of the Holy Ghost. It also symbolizes marytrdom and the Church. The dove with an olive branch was used on a sarcophagus to signify peace and hope of Resurrection; in flight, it represents the Ascension of Christ or the entrance of saints into glory.

Since early medieval times the Holy Eucharist was reserved for the sick in a dove-shaped vessel suspended to the baldachino over the altar; later the dove was enclosed in a tower upon the altar. A vessel of like form was hung over the early baptisteries.

In art it is the emblem of the following saints,

  • Saint Agnes of Rome - woman with a dove holding a ring in its beak
  • Saint Ambrose of Milan
  • Blessed Ambrose Sansedoni of Siena - Dominican with a dove (the Holy Spirit) whispering in his ear as he preaches
  • Saint Augustine of Hippo
  • Saint Basil the Great - the dove is near the supernational fire that indicates descent of the Holy Spirit on Basil
  • Saint Colman of Lindisfarne - the name Colman means dove
  • Saint Colomba of Rieti - Dominican tertiary with a dove indicating the Holy Spirit
  • Saint Dathus - chosen as bishop when a dove descended on him and those present took it as a sign
  • Saint David of Wales - as proof of the truth of his preaching, a dove settled on his shoulder as he spoke
  • Saint Devota - as her martyred body was being taken home, a storm threatened to wreck the boat; a dove emerged from her mouth, and the storm stopped
  • Saint Dunstan of Canterbury - man writing with a dove (the Holy Spirit) nearby
  • Saint Eulalia of Merida
  • Pope Saint Fabian - chosen pope when a dove settled on his head and the people took it as a sign
  • Pope Saint Gregory the Great
  • Saint Ida of Herzfield - woman with a dove hovering over her head
  • Saint Ivo of Kermartin - lawyer surrounded by doves (the Holy Spirit)
  • Saint Joachim - elderly man carrying a basket of doves
  • Saint John Chrysostom
  • Saint Oliva
  • Saint Oswald
  • Saint Remigius
  • Saint Scholastica - at her death, her brother, Saint Benedict of Nursia, saw her soul ascend to heaven as a dove
  • Saint Teresa of Avila - Carmelite nun with a dove (the Holy Spirit) nearby while she writes
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas - Dominican with a dove (the Holy Spirit) speaking in his ear as he writes
  • Pope Saint Zachary - with a dove and olive branch to indicate his work as a peace maker

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Dove'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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