St. Basil’s has as its symbol the olive branch.
The olive branch is deeply rooted in symbolic meaning and practical application dating back to ancient Mediterranean cultures including Greece, where winners in the Olympic Games were crowned with an olive wreath.
The Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark has a dove with an olive branch in its mouth returning to the Ark symbolising peace.
In the New Testament, there are many verses referring to the Mount of Olives. It is here where Jesus was betrayed and also the place from where Jesus ascended into Heaven.
The Greek word for ‘mercy’ is ‘eleos,’ a word that is derived from the word ‘olive’.
A child is baptised then anointed and blessed with olive oil. Offering an olive branch to someone symbolises wanting to end a conflict and restore peace and friendship.
Olive trees grow abundantly in Greece and the olive and olive oil are associated with this country. Of course, they feature heavily in Mediterranean dishes and their medicinal properties are widely recognised.
The olive tree is a symbol of prosperity, health, wellness, abundance and food. In the modern world, it has also become a symbol of Greek heritage. The olive tree is one of the most beloved, sacred trees and its place is firmly rooted in Ancient Greek tradition and mythology. Traditionally, the olive tree is a symbol of peace and friendship, this association began in ancient Greece, as early as the fifth century.
As such, St. Basil’s has adopted the olive branch as its symbol.