Every religion has its individual symbols with a unique meaning. Symbols evoke images with an inner meaning. Since Apostles Christian symbols do exist on this earth. Some symbols do evolve out of need to remain a secret during harassment and signify common objects to sacred level. Many symbols are rooted in ancient customs and belief and were converted in later to take on developing Christian theology.
Christian Symbols relate to religion both intellectually and emotionally. Unlike symbols like ‘Maple leaf’, ‘The crescent Moon’ or ‘Swastika Image’ in other religions, ‘The Cross’ is considered to be one of the obvious and long-lasting symbols in Christianity. Among the list of symbols in Christianity since early days Cross and Fish bear great importance. The Cross as a sign signifies the Cross of Jesus Christ and his followers to “take up your cross and follow me!”, whereas the Fish relates with Saint Peter. Fish and Stars were often used as decorative images for ancient Tombs and alters.
Some ancient symbols abide by cultural attitudes have taken the test of time and have lost their meanings. Over the year’s history, theology and beauty of the symbols have gone through various trials and gone fragile.
What are the main Christian Symbols?
Ancient Christianity had a deep appreciation for various power symbols. Do you want to explore them?
You might have seen some of these before and did not fully understand or maybe you never knew about.
Whatever the reason is, let us enjoy ourselves while exploring them!
Staurogram / Tau-Rho
The Staurogram, or Tau-Rho, is a combination of two Greek word tau (T) and rho (P). It was used as an abbreviation for the Greek word for cross in churches in ancient days.
Sometimes the letters also had deeper meaning. The tau symbolizes the cross on its own. The rho had the numerical value of 100. Which itself can either be a reference to the Greek word for help, which again had the numerical value of 100, or as a reference to Abraham, who himself is considered as a symbol of the Messiah because Abraham procreated Isaac when he was 100 years old.
The Ancient Greeks believed that the flesh of peacocks never decomposes after death, thus peacocks became a symbol of immortality. Early Christians adopted the symbol to represent their belief in eternal life in heaven and was often depicted with the Tree of Life.
Medieval Europeans believed that pelicans were particularly attentive to their young, even to the point of wounding itself and letting its young drink its blood at the time of food scarcity. As a result, the pelican became a symbol of Christ’s passion, pouring out his blood for the forgiveness of sins, as well as the Eucharist.
Ichthys is a Greek word for fish, and it was one of the most important Christian symbols in early days. Not only did fish feature in several miracles of Jesus in Gospels, but also the ichthys was taken as an auspicious acrostic for the Greek phrase “Iēsous Christos Theou Hyios Sōtēr,” which means “Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Savior!”
Alpha and Omega
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega being the last one together they represent the eternity of Christ as the Son of God. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says about himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
The Chi-Rho is a combination of the Greek letter chi (X) and rho (P), and represent the first two letters of the Greek word for “Christ,” therefore while put together signify “Jesus.”
The IH Monogram consists of two Greek letters iota (I) and eta (H), which happens to be the first two letters of the word “Jesus” in Greek, and forms a common shorthand for “Jesus.”
The IX Monogram consists of the Greek letters iota (I) and chi (X). Iota is the first letter of the Greek word for “Jesus,” and chi is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ.” While they are put together, they resemble the shorthand for “Jesus Christ.”
During the ancient days, anchors symbolized safety. It was adopted as a symbol of hope for future survival. As for Christian community Christ is the unfailing hope and respected as the ultimate liberator. The author of the Hebrews adapted this symbol for the hope Christians have in Christ.
What are the symbols of the Church?
Have you ever thought what those letters on the altar stand for? What is the significance of the symbols like fish, peacock, pelican etc. must do in Christianity?
Yes, friends the church is full of sacred signs and symbols that depict our history and remind us about faith. Every symbol has uniqueness and connection to our faith, and each one represents a time in history.
As we all know Dove is a sign of peace since ancient days especially while carrying an olive branch. According to the Bible, the dove had returned to Noah with an olive branch in its mouth depicting the message that the storm had ended, and the flood water had receded.
Water is a symbol of new life-being born of the Spirit and baptism. It represents cleansing and healing of soul. It also reminds us of the story of Jesus and the Woman at the Well, when Jesus offered her “living water.”
Butterflies symbolise powerful transformation in your life. It also denotes elevation from earthly matters into emotional or spiritual values.
The triquetra represents the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is used to form the Carolingian Cross pictured above and is a form of Celtic knot work.
The flame represents the Holy Spirit and eternal life. The symbol is a cue of energy, Passion, Authority and creativity.
Loaf & Cup
The loaf and cup represent the Last Supper where Jesus is breaking the bread and serving his disciples. These symbols are used during Holy Week. The loaf represents Jesus’ body, broken and torn into pieces for us, and the cup represents his blood, shed for us in order to clean our Soul.
The crown reminds us that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. It may also signify the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross and the crown of glory given to him in heaven.
In the New Testament, Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd, watching over his flock and shepherd’s crook is a souvenir of how God cares for us, acts as our pathfinder, and protects us.
The circle has no beginning and no end. Thus, it symbolizes love that knows no end.
These letters were inscribed on the sign that hung over Jesus when he was crucified. It’s short for the Latin phrase meaning, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
FLEUR DE LIS
The Fleur de Lis is an ancient symbol for lily, a sign of resurrection. The whiteness and purity of the lily is said to represent Mother Mary. The three petals also represent the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
What are the symbols in the Bible representing God?
In christian, A Bible Symbol is a word in the Bible that has a deeper meaning than general one.
- Rainbow- Signifies God is sending a message to us.
- Stairway/ Staircase- It symbolizes connection between Earth and Heaven.
- White Hair- It indicates wisdom and insightful judgement gained through experience.
- Rock- It denotes strength, stability and Permanence.
- Dove- It is a sign of the Holy Spirit showering blessings on us.
- Lamb- Lamb represents Jesus’s sacrifices and calmness.
- Anointing with Oil- It signifies connecting with Almighty through sacramental rites.
What are the symbols of Healing in the Bible?
Incense, bells, silence seem to hide many things rather than explaining the action while unfolding truth. We often forget that Christ himself can heal in an instant, without any means, without any symbols. But the fact is, Jesus Christ used some means, some symbols to heal a deaf and dumb man in the crowed. The man could have been healed among the people, but he preferred to choose a special place.
The second unnecessary gesture can be more shocking to us in this Covid-19 situation. Christ not only heals this deaf and dumb man with words, but he puts his saliva in the mouth of that man and uttered the word, Ephphatha, “Be opened.” Christ does not limit himself to performing miracles, he wanted to include the deaf man. In this way, the man himself, as a mediator, becomes part of the miracle.
Symbols of Redemption:
Redemption context can be found in the social, legal, and religious customs of the ancient world, the metaphor of redemption includes the ideas of losing from a bond, setting free from captivity or slavery.
Redemption is the act of buying something back or paying a price in return too keep something in your possession.
Among Christian community use of redemption means Jesus Christ, through his sacrificial death, purchased believers from the slavery of sin to set all free from bondage.
In the story of Ruth, Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer, taking on the responsibility to provide children through Ruth for her deceased husband, a relative of Boaz. Symbolically, Boaz was also a forerunner of Christ, who paid a price to free Ruth. Motivated by love, Boaz saved Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi.
The New Testament describes, announcement made by John the Baptist regarding coming of the Messiah of Israel, depicting Jesus of Nazareth as the completion of God’s redemptive kingdom.
Some of the Christian Imagery and their meanings:
Bee: Honey considered to be food of immortality.
Daisy: Holy Child’s innocence.
Dice: Roman soldiers cast lots at foot of cross.
Halo: Early Jewish sign of spiritual light. In medieval times, a saint with a rock on his head, holding a book and wearing a halo, represented St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr who was stoned and many were beheaded.
Pomegranate: Christ’s power. Seeds break the hard shell; Jesus bursts from the tomb.
Rooster: Apostle Peter’s betrayal.
Rye grass: Sown by the devil with wheat but separated during harvest as if the wicked separated from the good.
Shell: With drops of water, baptism.
Spiral: Liturgical year, which repeats cycles of Christ’s death and rebirth, and each time offers salvation to believers.
Stork: Announces spring, new life. Like angel’s Annunciation to Mary of virgin birth.
Triangle: All-seeing eye of God looks out from the Trinity (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Unicorn: Jesus, purity and virgin birth.
Seven differences between Protestant and Catholic Doctrine:
The term “magisterium” refers to the official teaching body of the Roman Catholic Church where the large house guide Catholics, this body also allows the church to make official pronouncements on contemporary issues which Scripture might not directly address.
Although there is no equivalent body like magisterium for Protestants.
While Protestants do not view tradition as equal in authority with the Scriptures, the Roman Catholic Church has a different perspective. While Protestants view the Scriptures as authoritative, the catholic diligently follow the Church.
Salvation and Grace
Protestants often express the idea that salvation is by faith, through grace and Christ. These assertive views justify a specific point upon relying on Almighty.
On the contrary the Roman Catholic Church views justification as a process depends upon the blessings you receive while participating in the Church.
When it comes to the ‘The Lord’s Supper,” or “Communion,” the Roman Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation, the idea of edible ritual elements used during the mass literally become the body and blood of Christ.
In contrast, some Protestants hold the perspective of consubstantiation, where Jesus’ body and blood are coexisting with the bread and the wine.
As discussed, protestants view justification that a guilty person is righteous because of what Christ has done. Sanctification, then, is the process of being made more righteous throughout your life.
Priesthood of All Believers
Regarding the structure of the church, the Catholic prefer a vertical structure while Protestants see the church as having a horizontal structure.
Veneration of the Saints and the Virgin Mary
Roman Catholics see worship, as praying through the Saints and Virgin Mary. Protestantism as a reaction to this emphasizes direct access to God.
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