The Building Blocks of Spirituality – Teaching your Children to Recognize the Iconography of SaintsIf you are visiting Israel with your children for the first time, teaching them about the various saints and their iconography is a great way to prepare them for the emotional impact of the holy land tours about to come. To help them better understand the Christian artwork you will encounter and enhance their spiritual experience, here is a brief guide to the attributes of some of the saints, as they appear in various statues, paintings and mosaics.
Because of the graphic nature of some of the depictions, it is recommended to explain to children in detail the stories of each saint in advance in order to transform the visual encounter into an educational encounter.
St. PeterSt. Peter will almost always be seen with his keys, the ones that Christ gave him to the kingdom of heaven. When he was martyred, Peter was crucified upside down and sometimes he will be depicted that way. Most artwork will portray him as a bearded figure and sometimes he will have a monk’s haircut.
John the BaptistJohn the Baptist lived in the wilderness and preached there. He is often depicted holding a long cross and with a wild beard and hair. John was beheaded by king Herod and some artwork will show the scene where his head was presented on a platter to queen Herodias, or the famous scene in which Salome danced with it.