The Anchor

The anchor and the fish are both popular Christian symbols. The anchor is a common symbol found on graves. Its meaning has several origins, the most obvious of which is Hebrews 6, 19:

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast”

The anchor of the soul invokes a strong image of the power of the Christian faith. In fact, in its most stylised form the anchor is depicted as a cross referred to as the Mariner’s Cross. It is also referred to as Saint Clement’s Cross. Pope St Clement I was bishop of Rome roughly between the years 91 and 101. Perhaps his most revered act was a letter he wrote to the Corinthians, one of the oldest early Christian written documents. There are several popular myths surrounding the life of St Clement however there is little historical evidence that confirm the stories.

Pope St Clement’s Martrydom

Pope St Clement was active during Emperor Trajan’s reign, during which time he was accused of stirring up trouble and forced to work in the in marble quarries. He was popular amongst the quarry workers, and still remains the patron saint of marble workers to this day. At the quarry, the only drinking water was so far away it was difficult for the convicts to make the distance to fetch water. One day he saw a lamb, which he took as a sign of the Lamb of God, and began digging until he found a fresh spring of water. His symbolic association with water continues as he was later martyred by Trajan as a result of his actions, by being chained to an anchor and drowned in the sea. In art he is represented with an anchor at his side.


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