The pomegranate is a symbol of the resurrection and the hope of eternal life. Because of its abundance of seeds, it can also symbolize royalty and the church, where the seeds represent the many believers who make up the one universal church.
The pomegranate symbol derives from the ancient myth of Properspina and her annual return to earth in the spring.
Christianity adopted this theme, with the pomegranate associated with the Resurrection of Christ and of believers instead of the annual resurrection of crops.
The seeds bursting forth from the pomegranate are also likened to Christ bursting forth from the tomb.
In Christian art, the pomegranate is often held by the Christ Child in depictions of the Madonna and Child, such as the famous example by Botticelli pictured at right.
Pomegranates are often used in church decorations on the Sundays after Pentecost.
- "Pomegranate." Peter and Linda Murray, Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art (2004).
- Patricia S. Klein, Worship Without Words: The Signs and Symbols of Our Faith (2000).
- Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture by Walter E. Gast. Top illustration of pomegranate also by Mr. Gast.