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Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 13th - For the Upcoming Feast of St. Anthony of Padua - Anthonian symbols

Iconography of St Anthony includes a series of symbols: youth, the habit, a book, the baby Jesus, the lily, a flame, a heart, bread. These express either a characteristic of his personality (memory functions), or the gifts and qualities which popular devotion have attributed to him (symbolic function).

The most widely diffused image is of Anthony as a young religious, with the Christ child in his arms and a lily in his hand.

Anonymus, St. Anthony reads the Word of God, 17th cent.

Youth is connected to the ideal image of him as, pure, good, receptive to everyone.

S. Vecchiato, St. Antony with a poor man - The Gospel and Charity, detail.,1997

The Franciscan habit (brown or black) is reminiscent of the Franciscan Order, but with some particular characteristics. Some people think - wrongly - that he created his own order and they have problems connecting him to St. Francis.

A. Van Dyck, Mary with the baby Jesus appearing to St. Anthony, 17th cent.

The baby Jesus is reminiscent of the vision that Anthony had in Camposampiero.

It also expresses his attachment to the humanity of Christ and his closeness to God.

: V. Carpaccio, St. Anthony with book and lily, detail of altar-piece of Madonna and Child among Saints, 1518

The Lily represents his purity and his battle against the demon since childhood.

Giovanni da Spoleto, nicknamed lo Spagna, St. Anthony with book and flame, 16th cent.

The flame indicates his love for God and his neighbour.
Many votive offerings are heart-shaped, and the reliquary for the voice box (larynx), found intact at the last recognition, has been made in the shape of a flame.

W. Van Herp the elder, St. Anthony distributes bread, 19th cent.

Bread is reminiscent of his charity to the poor. This image is connected with the charity "St. Anthony's bread for the poor", which is still operating.
This is also connected with Saint Anthony's Charities, which spreads the solidarity of St. Anthony all over the world.

Anonymous, the so-called

In the end, the oldest image and that which is nearest to reality is represented by the book, a symbol of his science, of his doctrine, of his preaching and of his teaching, always inspired by the book par excellence: the Bible.

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