An anchor is a heavy weight that holds a ship in place. Remaining firm and steadfast amid the uncertainty of storms and the elements, an anchor symbolizes such concepts as firmness, tranquility and hope.
In a spiritual context, the anchor symbolizes "the stable part of our being, the quality which enables us to keep a clear mind amid the confusion of sensation and emotion."429
The Anchor Symbol in Christianity
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." - Hebrews 6:17
The anchor is a very early Christian symbol that has been found in ancient catacombs. It brings together the cross and nautical Christian symbolism, and it symbolizes the Christian hope in Christ amid a turbulent world.
The anchor or mariner's cross is also the symbol of St. Clement of Rome, who was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.
- Chevalier, Jean; John Buchanan-Brown (trans.), Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Penguin Reference, 1997), "anchor".
- Ferguson, George, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art: With Illustrations from Paintings from the Renaissance (Oxford University Press, USA, 1965).
- Taylor, Richard, How to Read a Church: A Guide to Symbols and Images in Churches and Cathedrals (HiddenSpring, 2005).