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The dove is an extremely common charge, with variants such as the turtle dove or the pigeon. It is mainly emblematic of purity, due to its Biblical association with the Holy Spirit, a link which medieval authors and heralds heavily emphasized. It also symbolizes charity, faithfulness, filial piety and spirituality.


In a Christian context, the dove symbolizes innocence. In Matthew 10:16 of the Christian bible, it is said, "'See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.'"


The dove with an olive leaf as a symbol of peace traces to the story of Noah and the ark told in Genesis 8:10 of the Christian bible. Noah sent the dove from the ark, and when it returned with an olive leaf he knew the flood waters had receded.


In Christianity, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit because it carries the soul to heaven after death. In Christian iconography, the dove often hovers over or near divine figures such as the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and the saints.