Religious Symbols

The IHS:                        These are the first three letters of ‘Jesus’ in Greek.
The Trihedral:              Used to symbolise the trinity – god the father, Jesus the son and the Holy Spirit
Crucifix:                          The crucifix is the cross with the body of Jesus. It is a symbol of sacrifice that Jesus offered by dying on the cross, (Note: INRI often appears across the top of the crucifix which translates to ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea ordered this to be written over the crucifix.)
The Sacred Heart:         A symbol of the love of Jesus for all of humanity. The heart is a symbol of love. When depicted as the sacred heart it is shown as pieced with a cross of thorns twisted around it. This shows the depth of Jesus’ love.
The Lamb:                       Jesus is referred to as the “Lamb of God”. The whiteness of the Lamb symbolises purity and innocence. The Lamb is sometimes pictured with a flag, which symbolises Jesus’ victory over death in the resurrection.
The Alpha and Omega:  These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used to symbolise that Jesus is the beginning and the end.
The dove:                          Symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Used often o represent peace Christians believe the Holy Spirit brings
The fleur de lis:                Symbol of Mary. The whiteness and beauty of the lily is symbolic of the purity of Mary.
The crossed keys:            The crossed keys in the emblem of the papacy symbolise the keys of heaven entrusted to Simon Peter. The keys are gold and silver to represent to the power of loosening and binding. The triple crown (the tiara) represents the pope’s three functions as “supreme pastor” , “supreme teacher” and “supreme priests”. The gold cross on a monde (globe) surmounting the tiara symbolizes the sovereignty of Jesus.
In the Gospel of Matthew 16:16, Jesus says to peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”.
The Chi-Rho:                   These are the two letters of the ‘Christ’ in Greek
The ICTHUS Fish:           “ICTHUS” spells out “Jesus Christ, god’s Son, Saviour” in Greek. The Fish shape is used as the first Christians would often be killed and so they would use this as a code to find other Christians. When talking to someone they would draw an arc in the floor with their foot. If the other person was a Christian they would see that and do the same action over the top creating the fish, if they weren’t a Christian they wouldn’t notice.



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