Christian Symbols & Meanings
There are many symbols in Christianity, the most common being the Christian cross. But there are many others which are not as well known to non-Christians, and even some Christians. Here we have a collection of the most common Christian symbols.
- Alpha & Omega Alpha & Omega (Α & Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet representing God and Jesus Christ and the eternality of their existence. 'I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.' -Revelation 21:6
- Angel In early Christian tradition, angels were messengers of God. The word 'angel' is rooted in the Greek word 'angelos', which means messenger. Angels are being created by God. There are nine orders of angels: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels.
- Dove Seen as the universal sign of peace, the dove is traditionally seen carrying an olive branch (also a sign of peace). There are two important mentions of a dove in the Bible: the dove that came back to Noah, and the dove that defended from heaven onto Jesus Christ's shoulder at the time of his baptism.
- Latin cross The cross is the most recognizable symbols of Christianity, and a reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection. There are a variety of crosses but the most common one is the Latin cross.
- Anchor The anchor became a symbol of Christianity during the Roman era when Christians were persecuted. The iconography can be found in Roman catacombs. The anchor symbolisms a Christians firm hope in an eternal life.
- Ichthus Also spelled Ichthys, it is another symbol which came into use during the Roman era of Christian persecution, the fish was used as a means of identification for Christians meeting in secret. The word Ichthus is Greek for 'fish'. It is also an acronym: Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour).
- Chi-Rho It is the oldest of Christian symbols and is the first letters of the Greek word for Christ 'X' (Chi) and 'P' (Rho). The two letters are often displayed as overlapping.
- IH Monogram This monogram is the first two letters of the Greek for Jesus (iota & eta).
- IX Monogram This monogram is the first two letters of the Greek for Jesus Christ (Ιησούς Χριστός).
- Tau Rho Also known as a Staurogram, it is comprised of the Greek letter T (tau), overlaid on the letter P (rho). It is an abbreviated form of the Greek word for cross.
- The Good Shepherd & Shepherd's Crook The 'Good' Shepherd represents Jesus Christ who lays down his own life to protect his flock. 'The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.' John 10:11
- Peacock Ancient Greeks believed that the peacock did not decompose after death, so it was often used as a symbol for eternal life. It is often depicted in paintings along with the Tree of Life.