palm

detail of a painting of Saint Justine of Padua in the San Luca Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna, c.1453; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

An ancient symbol of victory. It was adopted by the early Christians to represent the triumph of the faithful over the enemies of the soul. They are the special badge of martyrs, and the Congregation of Rites in 1688 regarded the representation of a palm on a catacomb tomb as proof that a martyr was interred there, but this was later declared untenable.

The palm tree gives shade and fruit, and hence is emblematic of God‘s protection and grace.

Palm branches carried by the faithful on Palm Sunday are retained, burned, blessed and form the ashes used in the following year’s Ash Wednesday services.

Associated in Art with

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “palm”. Emblems of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 January 2020. Web. 18 February 2020. <>