St. Matthew

Matthew is associated with the winged man, or the angel, because his Gospel focuses on the humanity of Christ, St. Jerome affirms. Matthew's Gospel includes a narrative regarding the genealogy of Jesus.

St. Mark

The lion is related to St. Mark because his Gospel emphasizes the majesty of Christ and his royal dignity, just as the lion has traditionally been regarded as the king of beasts. Mark’s Gospel begins with the prophetic voice of John the Baptist, crying out in the wilderness like a lion’s roar.

St. Luke

Luke gets the ox, because his Gospel focuses on the sacrificial character of Christ’s death, and the ox has always been a sacrificial animal par excellence, both for Judaism and Roman paganism.

St. John

John, finally, is associated with the eagle for two reasons: first, because his Gospel describes the Incarnation of the divine Logos, and the eagle is a symbol of that which comes from above. The second, because like the eagle, John, in his Revelation, saw beyond what is immediately present. They don’t call St. John the Evangelist “the Eagle of Patmos” for nothing!