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NIMBUS

A circle or ornamented disk depicted around the head of a saint. In pre-Christian times it represented power and majesty. The Church adopted the custom and made the nimbus symbolic of virtue. The square nimbus was once used with portraits of the living as emblems of human greatness, round circles reserved for saints as a symbol of grace bestowed on them by God. Related to nimbus are the halo and aureole.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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