photograph of a Common Raven (Corvus corax), taken on 27 August 2007 in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada by D Gordon E Robertson; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso refers to

  • black bird
  • crow


Large, black bird noted for its intelligence. Depending on where the viewer is from, he may never have seen a raven, but this emblem in Christian art, and this article, covers crows and similarly all-black birds. They are emblematic of penance, and of the solitary life of hermits and desert monks. However, they are often included in art because actual ravens were involved in significant incidents in the saint‘s life. Muslim tradition say that God sent a raven to Cain which, by scratching in the earth, showed Cain how to bury his murdered brother Abel. According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve were taught by the raven how to bury their son, and God rewarded the raven by granting three things: (1) his young were to be inviolable, (2) abundance of food, (3) his prayer for rain should be granted.

Profiled saints that may be depicted with a raven

MLA Citation

  • “raven”. Emblems of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 August 2010. Web. 26 January 2022. <http://catholicsaints.info/raven/>