The Gospel of St John begins with the Word of God and emphasises the holiness of Christ. The symbol of St John is therefore an eagle, as it can fly higher than any other bird and so nearest to heaven.
St John is also the author of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. He shown either young and beardless as the author of the Gospel, or white-haired and bearded as the author of Revelation. Sometimes he holds a cup with a snake. This refers to the legend that St John was forced to drink a cup of poison to prove his faith. He drank and survived.
- Stained glass panel showing St John with cup and snake
- England, about 1400-50
- Museum no. C.336-1937