The Definition and Meaning of the Stork 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 Stork? The stork is one of several species of large wading birds of the family Ciconid, having long legs and a long, pointed bill. The word 'stork' derives from the Heb. hasidah, meaning "kindness," indicating thus the character of the bird, which is noted for its affection for its young.
Storks are harbingers of spring and enemies of snakes. The Stork Christian Symbol represents holiness and vigilance and is symbolic of the Annunciation to Mary that she would bear the Christ child.
Reference to the Stork Christian Symbol in the Bible
The Easton Bible Dictionary provides the following definition, meaning and emblem for the Stork Christian Symbol in the Bible.
It is like the crane, but larger in size. Two species are found in Palestine, the white, which are dispersed in pairs over the whole country; and the black, which live in marshy places and in great flocks. They migrate to Palestine periodically (about the 22nd of March). Jeremiah alludes to this (Jer. 8:7). At the appointed time they return with unerring sagacity to their old haunts, and re-occupy their old nests.
In Job 39:13 (A.V.), instead of the expression "or wings and feathers unto the ostrich" (marg., "the feathers of the stork and ostrich"), the Revised Version has "are her pinions and feathers kindly" (marg., instead of "kindly," reads "like the stork's"). The object of this somewhat obscure verse seems to be to point out a contrast between the stork, as distinguished for her affection for her young, and the ostrich, as distinguished for her indifference.
Zechariah (5:9) alludes to the beauty and power of the stork's wings.
It is in the list of birds forbidden to be eaten by the Levitical law (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18).
The definition and the meaning of Symbols or Icon in early religious art forms. A Catholic sign or icon, such as the Stork 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 Stork 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.