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Catholic Dictionary




A pagan symbol meaning harmony, adopted in Christian art from the catacombs by Clement of Alexandria. It was considered an emblem of King David and appears often in angelic illustrations. Because of her representation as singing in her heart to God, St. Cecilia is sometimes shown holding the lyre, though the organ is more frequently but incorrectly considered her emblem. A lyre symbolizes St. Dunstan of England, patron of musicians, as also St. Gregory the Great, founder of the famous Roman schola cantorum. The harp, associated with the lyre, is an emblem of St. Patrick.