A walkthrough on the history and significance of different Catholic symbols and religious artifacts found in the store

You might often wonder about the symbolism of various Catholic symbols and different forms of artifacts you often see at the churches and the religious store. Although it’s quite natural, knowing the appropriate meaning of the deep symbolism is crucial for every catholic member. It’s not just about understanding the true essence of these symbols and artifacts. Instead, knowing the historic events and significance associated with the elements will give valuable insights into understanding their significance in our day-to-day lives. 

Although books and references are there to describe the true meaning of different catholic artifacts and symbols, having the information presented in a concise form will be much better. That being said, we have curated a detailed guide for you to help acknowledge the inner symbolism and significance of the religious artifacts and other forms of catholic symbols you often come across at stores.

Why should you know the history and significance of catholic symbols and artifacts?

Before you discuss the meaning and symbolism of different symbols and artifacts associated to the catholic religion, it’s crucial to understand your gains from the same. In this below section, we have discussed the importance of learning about the different artifacts and symbols known in the catholic religion for everyday lives.

  1. Enriches the spiritual connection: Once you start understanding the true meaning and symbolism of the catholic symbols and artifacts, you will feel much closer to God and religion. In other words, your spiritual life will be further enhanced once you start unraveling the history and hidden meaning of the different symbols involved with the catholic religion. 

  2. Strengthens faith: In order to strengthen your faith in the catholic religion and God, you must understand the true meaning and associated history of various symbols and artifacts. Only then will you be able to steer your beliefs in the correct direction and gain a sense of understanding. 

  3. Enriches devotion and prayer: Once you know the meaning and historic facts about different catholic symbols and artifacts found in a religious store, you will be able to meditate properly. It will provide you a sense of peace and hence, you can devote your mind and heart to the prayers with ease.

  4. Provides sheer comfort: The human mind is pretty inquisitive and unless and until you know the real meaning and true facts behind the symbols and religious artifacts, it will be quite difficult to carry on with the tasks. Furthermore, gaining more knowledge in this matter will provide you sheer comfort and relaxation since you will be able to gain clarity. 

  5. Fosters unity: Also, it is said that several artifacts and symbols related to the Christian religion are meant to preach beliefs for unity and solidarity. Therefore, once you start learning about the historic events and real symbolism, you will be able to understand the importance of unity and implement various practices for the same.

Top catholic symbols and their meaning

Although there are tons of catholic symbols you will come across in the bible, churches, and other areas associated with the religion, we have listed only the top ones from the list. It will at least push you towards a spiritual journey and help restore your faith and devotion towards your religion and God. 


The crucifix is one of the most significant symbols you will find in the catholic culture. A wooden cross with a statue of Jesus Christ signifies the event that shook the entire world. It is known to be a symbol of atonement and sacrifice, having an undeniable relation with the decision of Christ of sacrificing himself for the redemption of mankind. If you take a closer look, you will find the letters INRI engraved on the crucifix. Based on the Latin evaluation of the phrase, the letters means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”. These words were engraved on the original crucifix by none other than Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate who sentenced Christ to his death.

The Dove

Another most significant symbol in the Catholic religion is that of The Dove carrying an olive branch in its beak. According to the testaments of Mark 1.10 and Matthews 3.16, a white dove appeared and descended on Christ when John, the Baptist carried on with his baptism ceremony. In another dialect from Genesis 8.1-12, it is believed that Noah sent the dove in search for dry land. After the rain stopped, the bird returned carrying an olive branch in its beak. Owing to this, the bird is often associated with the symbol of peace, God’s forgiveness, and God’s grace. 

Alpha and Omega

Based on the mention in Revelation 1.8, 21.6, and 22.13, Christ often considered him as the Alpha and Omega, meaning the beginning and end of all creations. In Greek culture, Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters, which is why they are often associated with the Catholic liturgical years. 

The Lamb

If you look carefully, you will often see the symbol of The Lamb on different artifacts and books related to Christianity. It is believed that Christ was the sacrificial lamb since he sacrificed himself to could atone for their sins and redeem . The animal has a white body, symbolizing purity and peace, both qualities which perfectly define Christ himself, till his last moment. Also, the sight of this symbol on the flags represent the victory of Christ over his death, i.e., the journey to his resurrection.

The Sacred Heart

Shining with a divine light, the Sacred Heart is considered as one of the most essential symbols in Catholic art. A lance pierces through the heart while a crown of thorns adorns its top region, leading to a bleeding picture. According to popular beliefs, the thorns, wound, and blood represent the deep love Jesus had for mankind that ultimately led him to his sacrifice. On the contrary, the flames represent the transformative power of the divine love that finally led to the resurrection journey of Christ from his graves. 

The Pelican

Pelican has always been a symbol of Christ’s love for mankind. According to the tales of medieval Europe, young pelicans used to feed on the blood of their parents for survival. Hence, it soon got associated with Catholic culture, showing the deep love and understanding Christ had. As mentioned in the history, Christ also had to shed his blood so that man could be atoned for their sins and walk on the path of redemption. 

Crossed Keys

Another important symbol related to Catholic culture that you can see at the religious store, graveyard, and plaque is that of the crossed keys. These represent the set of keys Jesus entrusted St. Peter with for running the institution of Church in his absence. In fact, these crossed keys are considered to be the symbol of Pope’s power in Catholic culture. Since St. Peter was the first pope, the symbol is a legacy in Christianity religion. 


In this article, we have shared the history and cultural and spiritual significance of the top symbols and artifacts you can find in a religious store. Therefore, the next time you see them, you will be able to feel closer to your religion and faith and walk on the path of divine love and spiritual empowerment. 


A walkthrough on the history and significance of different Catholic symbols and religious artifacts found in the store
Matthew J. Merhaut 24 May, 2024
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