The Meaning of the Lion as a Catholic Christian Symbol
Catholic Christian symbolism in art provides a clear graphic illustration which represents people or items of religious significance. What is the definition and the meaning of the Lion? A lion is a large gregarious predatory feline of Africa and India having a tawny coat with a shaggy mane in the male. The lion is a symbol of Christ, the Lion of Judah. The Lion Christian Symbol represents alertness and watchfulness.
Christian Symbolism of the Lion in a Medieval Bestiary
A Bestiary was a medieval book with allegorical descriptions of animals, such as the lion, which were often full of symbolism and reflected the belief that the world itself was the Word of God, and that every living creature had its own special meaning. The lion was connected to God in that as a lion sleeps with its eyes open as does God who never sleeps as He watches over his children.
The Lion of St. Mark
The lion is symbolic of Saint Mark. The Lion of St. Mark is a winged lion, the emblem of the evangelist Mark, especially that of bronze surmounting a granite column in the Piazzetta at Venice, and holding in its fore paws an open book representing St. Mark's Gospel.
Reference to the Lion in the Bible
The following reference to the Lion is in the Bible:
Revelation 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Rev. 5:4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
1Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
The definition and the meaning of Symbols or Icon in early religious art forms. A Catholic sign or icon, such as the Lion Christian Symbol, is an object, character, figure, or color used to represent abstract ideas or concepts - a picture that represents an idea. A religious icon, such as the Lion Christian Symbol, is an image or symbolic representation with sacred significance. The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.