In this symbol the hand of the Almighty Father offers the “crown of life” to all men through the merits of the cross of Christ. A beautiful representation of this is found in the apse of s. Maria Nova in Rome. As early as the 3rd century a martyr was represented in the Church of SS Peter and Marcellinus at Rome with a similar wreath on his head.
The laurel, because of its ever-green leaves and aromatic fragrance, is a symbol of heavenly bliss. In ancient times at public contests the winner was crowned with laurel; the artist excelling in music and song was similarly crowned.