Christian Symbols on Grave Monuments
All-seeing Eye, Eye of God:
Symbolizes the omnipresence of God.
The Eye of God enclosed
in a triangle represents the Holy Trinity. (Below: The All Seeing Eye of God, the two hands clasped
represents farewell, and the chain with a broken link symbolizes the death of a family member.)
Early Christian symbol of hope has been found in the art
of the catacombs and may
still be found on grave markers.
Cross and Anchor:
Early Christian symbol referring to Christ as
hope we have as an
anchor of the soul, both sincere and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).
Symbolizes the mode of the death of Jesus Christ,
and faith and resurrection;
is considered the perfect symbol of Christs sacrifice in the Christian religion.
It is the greatest Christian Sacred Symbol. Common variations include the Latin cross
the Greek cross, the Celtic cross
, the Maltese cross, and the Russian or Eastern cross.
Crosses can be found on tombs, as cross shaped ledger stones, freestanding gravemarkers,
in ironworks, and as relief ornamentation.
Crown and Cross:
These two icons together symbolize the reward of the
faithful in the life after death for those who believe in the crucified Savior. Be thou faithful unto death
and I will give thee the Crown of Life. ( Rev. 2:10)
Used to honor Christ and symbolize that He is the
Rose of Sharon, and the Lily of the Valleys. (Song of Solomon 2:1).
See the flowers on the Wreath
Heart encircled with Thorns:
Symbolizes the suffering of Christ.
Heart Pierced by a Sword:
Symbolizes the Virgin Mary, hearkening to Simeons prophecy to Mary
at the birth of Christ, Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul. (Luke 2:35)
Symbolizes Christ in his sacrificial role and personifies innocence, gentleness and humility.
Jesus, the Son of God, is the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world for our
sins, (Revelations 13:8). The Lamb is often found on the grave monuments of children.
The oak considered as the tree from which the cross was made, it became a symbol
of Christ. The Oak also symbolizes strength and renewal of life, and therefore, the Resurrection. The Oak tree was also a
Originally a military symbol of victory, it was adapted into Christianity as a symbol of
Christs victory of death. Often seen as an attribute of martyrdom and eternal peace. Palms
signifies praise, triumph and thanksgiving. They were borne in honor of Him and their homage
accepted by Him on the first Palm Sunday.
Rock, (The Rock):
(He is my rock... - Psalm 92:15) or sometimes the Church. A ancient way to show the Rock
was to have four streams of water flowing from it, the streams symbolizing the Four Gospels. The Rock could also
represent St. Peter, and his successors. While we would not expect to often see a headstone with a Rock carved on
its face, the Rock does occasionally serve as a monolithic monument.
The Rock, from the song Rock of Ages has
changed through the years to be become a rock cross. The illustration at the top
of this page
shows the Rock as the Cross, and there are grave markers that depict that scene in stone.
Associated with the Virgin Mary. In Catholic litanies, she is
called Rosa mystica and in many hymns she is invoked as the rose without thorns. A red
rose symbolizes martyrdom and a white rose symbolizes purity. See:
A three leaf clover or shamrock of sorts, symbolizes the Holy Trinity.
Wreath: Originally an ancient symbol of victory, it was adopted into the
Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption. The hand holding the wreath (below) represents
the hand of God.