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 baldichinum 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.

Associated in Art with

MLA Citation

  • “dove“. Emblems of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 August 2018. Web. 10 December 2019. <>