Dictionary of Church Terms
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As a Christian symbol, the dove denotes peace, forgiveness, and anticipation in a new life. It also expresses innocence and purity. 1. It signifies the Holy Spirit and the presence of God as hovering over the water at creation.2. Refering to the dove with the olive branch in its beak in the story of Noah and the ark (Gen. 8-11), we can say that it is a sign of peace and reconciliation. 3. In the primitive Church, the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ at His baptism under the form of a dove (Mark 1:10), thus the dove here referred to the Holy Spirit. 4. In the Song of Solomon, where the Bride is called a dove (2:1; 5:2), and the dove is a symbol of the Church. 5. Besides in many times the dove denotes the inspired theological knowledge of the saints. 6. It represents certain Christian virtues, notably purity and humility.

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