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.
The Definition and Meaning of the Phoenix 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 Phoenix? The Phoenix is a legendary Arabian bird said to periodically burn itself to death and emerge from the ashes as a new phoenix. According to most versions only one phoenix lived at a time and it renewed itself every 500 years. Legend tells that the phoenix is a bird that will not die because it did not eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. The Phoenix Christian Symbol represents the Resurrection and of eternity.
Saint Clement and the story of the Phoenix
Saint Clement was the first Christian writer to use the legend of the phoenix as an allegory of the Resurrection during the first century in his first letter to the Corinthians. It was used to symbolize resurrection and eventually to signify the Resurrection of Christ.
Reference to the Phoenix in the Bible
The following reference to the Phoenix is in the Bible:
Job 29:18, Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix.’
The translation of this verse has caused some confusion as the Hebrew word KHOL has two meanings. Many translations
say sand but it can also be translated phoenix bird.