E D U C A T I O N   A N D   L E C T U R E 


Magdalene Grace Deane is available (as her schedule allows) for

educational presentations and lectures on the subject of

Ancient Christian Liturgical Art, Iconography, Theology and Symbolism.


An excerpt from a lecture, "The Iconography and Symbolism of the Holy Spirit":

"The Holy Sprit is shown here from a detail of an early Byzantine Icon of "The Holy Trinity". The description of the Holy Spirit, as a white dove, comes directly from the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke and is seen in ancient Christian Art as early as the 3rd century. Though we see the depiction of a white dove (carrying an olive branch) earlier in Christian Art, it is usually attributed to the dove (symbolizing peace) in the Old Testament account of Noah and the Great Flood. The depiction of the white dove as the Holy Spirit is attributed to the book of Mark (1:10) and makes its first appearance in Christian Art within the event of the Baptism of Christ.  

The Holy Spirit Dove became more vested in symbolism during the Byzantine era where it is seen illuminated by a halo and golden rays. The halo contains a Greek inscription O ωN.  This inscription is also seen on the halo of Christ in other icons and bears witness to God in Rev. 1:8 where "O" translates as "the [one]" and "ωΝ" translates as [who] is". The White Dove is surrounded by a dual positioning of gradient squares. The multiple hues of blue represents the heavens. The outer four points shown on the background square is a formation dedicated to the symbolism of the 4 Evangelists. These four corners or points are often depicted in the icon, "Christ Enthroned". All eight corners of the squares combined, point to the 8th day, an understanding of the Kingdom of God and the life of the world to come."