How a Small Ocoee Flower Shares a Big Story

July 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

by Kathryn DONEV

With VBS season upon us, we are always looking for inventive ways of sharing the Gospel with our little ones. We are internally motivated by the Biblical mandate of Proverbs 22:6.  When we start children off on the way they should go, even when they are old they will not turn from it. So this summer let us shift focus from the Corona Virus to the Corona Filaments of a small plant that tells a big story.

When Spanish Christian missionaries arrived in the jungle of Brazil in the 16th century, they discovered a plant with such beauty and distinctiveness unlike any they had seen before. These explores were encouraged feeling it was a good sign for their mission.  After closely observing the structure of the plant’s bloom, they called it the passion flower because to them it symbolized the passion or death of Christ.

This exotic flower (Passiflora Incarnata) grows wild in South America and the southern United States as well. Beginning around June is when you first see the vine emerge from the grown after laying dominate all winter. It is the official state wildflower of Tennessee and is sometimes know as the maypop (term given by the Powhatan Indians), wild apricot, Holy Trinity flower and the ocoee. The Cherokee were the ones to referred to the passion vine as “u-wa-go-hi” or “ocoee”. The root “oco” refers to the plant and “ee” describes location. The word “ocoee” literally means the apricot vine place. The passion flower was considered to be the most beautiful of all flowers among the Cherokee and to this day it is a revered piece of their heritage.

Here’s how a small flower turned to be the center stage of the story of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

The passion flower is a strong plant that is resistant to pulling and bending as was Christ who endured the horrific pain of a crucifixion. The radial corona filaments of the flower represent the woven crown of thorns which mocked Christ’s claim of authority.  This corona rests upon a cup-shaped structure that reminds of the cup of suffering and the Last Supper. The spiraled tendons of the plant are symbols of the lashes Christ endured and  the flower’s trailing tendrils are like the whips.  The central flower column receptacle is symbolic of the pillar of Christ’s scourging. The three stigmas are symbols of the nails used in the crucifixion as well as the Holy Trinity. The five anthers remind us of the five piercing wounds Christ suffered.  Together the five petals and five sepals refer to the ten disciples who did not betray or deny Jesus. The palmate leaves depict the hands of His persecutors or the Holy lance that pierced Christ’s side.  The fragrance of the flower helps us recall the spices used in the burial cloth for the body of Christ. The purple color is symbolic of royalty, the white is for purity.  The shape of its fruit is symbolic of the world that Christ saved through his suffering. Finally, because the passion flower is a vine it points to Heaven and will compete with surrounding trees to see the light.  

13 Titles and Resources at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

June 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Publication, Research

Author/Creator: Society for Pentecostal Studies–Annual Meeting, 2007 ; Donev, Kathryn.
Author/Creator: Society for Pentecostal Studies–Annual Meeting, 2010 ; Donev, Dony K.
Author/Creator: Donev, Dony K.
Author/Creator: Donev, Dony K.
Author/Creator: Society for Pentecostal Studies–Annual Meeting, 2011 ; Donev, Dony
Author/Creator: Donev, Dony K.
Resource Type: Books