Christian symbols and their meaning (2023)

Christian symbolism gives intrinsic meaning to objects or actions that express Christian ideas. Christianity borrowed from the common stock of significant symbols known in most ages and in all regions of the world. Religious symbolism is effective when it appeals to both the intellect and the emotions. The selection of appropriate acts and objects for symbolism is narrow enough that even if there were a conscious attempt to invent an entirely new ritual, it would not be easy to avoid the appearance of imitation of other traditions.

Elementary symbols were widely used by the early church. Water has a special symbolic meaning for Christians. Outside of baptism, water can represent purification or purity. Fire, especially in the form of a candle flame, represents both the Holy Spirit and the Light. The sources for these symbols are from the Bible; for example, the tongues of fire symbolizing the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Jesus' description of his followers as the light of the world, or God is a consuming fire found in Hebrews 12. The cross, which is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world today, has been used as a symbol since the most remote times.

(Video) 10 Most Common Catholic Symbols and Their Meanings | Common Christian Symbols

21 Symbols Used in the Catholic Church...

(Video) Early Christian Symbols

21 Symbols Used in the Catholic Church

(Video) 10 Common Religious Symbols and Their Meanings

Among the symbols of the first Christians, that of the fish seems to occupy the first place. Indeed, we know from monumental sources such as tombs that the symbolic fish was familiar to Christians from the earliest times. It can be seen in Roman monuments such as the Capella Greca and the Chapels of the Sacraments of the Catacomb of San Callisto. The fish was portrayed as a Christian symbol in the early decades of the 2nd century.

(Video) The Meaning of the Peacock Symbol in Christianity

Ancient people believed that peacock meat did not decay after death, and therefore became a symbol of immortality. This symbolism was adopted by early Christianity, and many early Christian paintings and mosaics depict the peacock. The peacock is still used especially in the east during the Easter season.

Here are some of the most popular Christian symbols.

(Video) TOP 5.5 Christian Symbols • Familiar and Unknown • Can we recognise them?

OChi Rhoit is one of the first cruciform symbols used by Christians. It is formed by overlapping the first two letters of the Greek word "Christ", chi = ch and rho = r. Although not technically a cross, the chi rho evokes the crucifixion of Jesus and symbolizes his Christhood. The earliest evidence of the Chi-Rho symbol is Constantine's use of the labarum, the imperial standard, in the early 4th century AD Lactantius, a 4th century Christian apologist, reports that on the eve of the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312 he had a vision of God commanding him to mark his men's shields with the Chi Rho symbol. After Constantine's success at the Milvian Bridge, the chi-rho became the official imperial insignia. Archeologists have uncovered evidence showing that the Chi Rho was emblazoned on the helmet and shield of Constantine and all of his soldiers. Coins and medallions minted during the reign of Constantine also bore the Chi Rho. From the year 350 AD, Chi Rho was used for Christian sarcophagi and frescoes. [AEM]Christian symbols and their meaning (3)Philosopher A.N. Whitehead said that royal symbols have the power to change history. The history of the Chalice symbol is significant. It began by portraying the religious prowess of Jan Hus, a 15th-century Czech priest who was martyred for offering Communion to his parishioners, despite the Roman Church restricting the sharing of wine to priests only. He was burned at the stake for that act, and Unitarians have a history of being persecuted for innovative and democratic acts in religion.

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Christian symbols and their meaning (4)Christian symbols and their meaning (5)Christian symbols and their meaning (6)
Word of God ArticleVesica fish articleSeed of Life Article
Ichthus(ikh-thoos) or ichthys is the Greek word and simply means "fish".
The Greek spelling for ichthus is — iota, chi, theta, upsilon and sigma. The English translation is IXOYE. The five Greek letters represent the words "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior". The Greek translation is Iesous Christos, Theou Uios, Soter.
This symbol was mainly used among Christians of the early years of the church (1st and 2nd centuries AD). The symbol was introduced in Alexandria, Egypt; which at the time was a densely populated port city. It was the port where many goods were brought from the European continent. That's why it was used for the first time by the peoples of the sea as a symbol of a familiar deity, in this case Jesus Christ.
After his mission at the foot of the Cross of San Damiano, Saint Francis chose an older symbol of salvation as his banner: thecross number.

In commenting on Israel's scriptures, early Christian authors used their Greek translation, the Septuagint, in which the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tau, was transcribed in Greek as "T". The stylized cross of Tau, prefigured in the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, thus represented the means by which Christ undid the disobedience of the old Adam and became our Savior as the "new Adam."

Christian symbols and their meaning (9)a cruz latina, also known as the Protestant Cross and Latin Cross of the Western Cross.
The Latin Cross (Crux Ordinary) is a symbol of Christianity, although it was used as a pagan symbol for millennia before the founding of the Christian Church.
It was found in China and Africa. It appears in Scandinavian Bronze Age stones representing the hammer of Thor, their god of thunder and war. It was considered a magical symbol. It brought good luck and distracted evil. Some people interpret the rock carvings of the cross as a solar symbol or as a symbol of the earth, whose points represent north, south, east and west. Others say it represents the human form.
Christian symbols and their meaning (10)Lamm:a symbol of Christ as the Passover Lamb and also a symbol for Christians (since Christ is our shepherd and Peter was instructed to feed his sheep). The lamb is also a symbol of Saint Agnes (feast of January 21), a virgin martyr of the early church.
Christian symbols and their meaning (11)Taube:a symbol of the Holy Spirit and is particularly used in depictions of the Baptism of Our Lord and Pentecost. It also symbolizes the redemption of the soul in death and is used to commemorate Noah's dove, a harbinger of hope.Christian symbols and their meaning (12)Rosa: Holy Faith, Our Lady, Martyrdom, the Mystery of Penance. Five roses are grouped together to symbolize the 5 wounds of Christ.
Christian symbols and their meaning (13)Anker:found in the 1st century cemetery of Santa Domitila, the epitaphs from the catacombs of the 2nd and 3rd centuries and especially in the oldest parts of the cemeteries of Santa Priscilla (about 70 specimens in this cemetery alone), Domitila, Calixto and the Coemetarium majus. See Hebrews 6:19.jerusalem cross:also called the “Cross of the Crusaders”, it is composed of 5 Greek crosses, which a) symbolize the 5 wounds of Christ; and/or b) the 4 gospels and the 4 corners of the earth (the 4 lesser crosses) and Christ himself (the great cross). This cross was a common symbol used during wars against Islamic aggression.
Christian symbols and their meaning (15)Taufkreuz:Composed of the Greek cross with the Greek letter "X", initial of the title "Christ", this cross is a symbol of rebirth, hence its association with baptism.Christian symbols and their meaning (16)Peterskreuz: Because Peter, when about to be martyred, out of respect for Christ, chose to be crucified upside down, the inverted Latin cross became his symbol, and therefore a symbol of the papacy. Unfortunately, this cross has been co-opted by Satanists, whose intent to "reverse" Christianity (for example, as in their Black "Masses") is expressed by taking the Latin cross of Christ and inverting it.
Christian symbols and their meaning (17)Fire, especially in the form of a candle flame, represents both the Holy Spirit and the Light.
Christian symbols and their meaning (18)Christian cross - Regarded as the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Christian cross is the most well-known religious symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix (a cross usually containing a three-dimensional representation of the body of Jesus) and the more general family of cross symbols.

The cruciform sign, represented in its simplest form by an intersection of two lines at right angles, predates the introduction of Christianity to East and West. It dates back to a very distant time in human civilization. It is said to have been used not only for its ornamental value but also with religious significance.
The Christian cross comes in many different forms. Here are some of the different shapes of the Christian cross.

latin cross

Christian symbols and their meaning (19)

Coptic New Cross

Christian symbols and their meaning (20)

Christian symbols and their meaning (21)Crucifix – Cross from which hangs a representation of the body of Jesus. Used primarily in Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox churches (where the figure is painted), it emphasizes Christ's sacrifice - his death by crucifixion.

Patriarchal Cross

A double cross with the two crossbars near the top. The upper one is shorter and represents the board nailed to the cross of Jesus.

Christian symbols and their meaning (22)

Christian symbols and their meaning (23)cross crosslet

This heraldic cross consists of four Latin crosses placed at right angles to each other with their points pointing north, south, east and west. Traditionally, they are believed to represent the message of the cross going to the four corners of the earth. The cruciform cross, like the Jerusalem cross, is a symbol of the gospels' worldwide evangelization, giving it an alternative name: the missionary cross. Another common interpretation is that it represents the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Christian symbols and their meaning (24)The Borromean Rings represent the Trinity.
There are many Trinity symbols in Christianity. The Borromean Rings are three interlocking circles symbolizing the Christian Trinity. The word "Trinity" comes from the Latin noun "Trinitas" and means "three are one". The Trinity represents the belief that God is a being composed of three distinct persons existing in equal and eternal communion as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Christian symbols and their meaning (25)Star of David – The Star of David is a six-pointed star formed by two interlocking triangles, one pointing upwards and the other pointing downwards. It is named after King David and appears on the flag of Israel. While primarily recognized as a symbol of Judaism and Israel, many Christians also identify with the Star of David.
The five-pointed star is also a symbol of Christianity associated with the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christian symbols and their meaning (26)Bread and Wine - The bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ. People often associate drinking wine or eating bread with being holy or doing something similar to God or Jesus.
Christian symbols and their meaning (27)Bible – The Bible is the word of God.
Christian symbols and their meaning (28)The Christian circle represents eternity
Christian symbols and their meaning (29)The Horn - This Christian symbol represents the power of God. As the main means of defense and offense invested in most animals, the horn is a symbol of dominance, power, triumph, ferocity, strength, intelligence, dignity, wealth and fame. A horn with oil represents David's anointing as king and the seven horns of the ram represent the conquest of Jericho (Joshua) by the Israelites.

The word is also used in several popular expressions whose meanings have religious connotations. For example, the term "cornucopia" means the bounty of the Almighty; and "horn of salvation" refers to Jesus Christ and represents a mighty Savior.

Christian symbols and their meaning (30)pelican
The pelican is a uniquely Christian symbol denoting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and representing atonement and redemption. It is said that the pelican pierces its chest to feed its young with its blood and save them from starvation. As the personification of self-sacrifice, the bird was compared to Christ, who willingly gave his life and blood for the spiritual sustenance of others, thus becoming the ideal symbol of indemnity and redemption. The pelican's generosity has also made it a symbol of charity, generosity, care, resourcefulness, responsibility, humility and companionship.
Christian symbols and their meaning (31)Palmenzweig
The palm branch Christian symbol symbolizes victory and also depicts a martyr sacrificing his life for belief in God. The palm branch is often seen in the hands of Jesus Christ and is considered a symbol of resurrection, representing ultimate triumph over death. Palm branches were waved and placed along the path as Jesus entered Jerusalem. In early Christianity, the palm tree was even used as the tree of life.
(Video) Christian Symbols - Volume 1


1. TOP 5.5 Christian Symbols • Familiar and Unknown • Can we recognise them?
(Duval Antique)
2. Christ and The Fish Symbol: It is Not What You Think!
(Dr. Stewart Productions)
3. 55 Religious Symbols Explained
(All About Your Faith)
4. Christian Education Lesson Christian Symbol Journal
(All Saints Church)
5. Christian Symbols - Volume 3
6. 10 Common Dream Symbols and Their Biblical Meaning
(Kris Reece)


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