Symbols for Christians
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
Christianity has many symbols that help express Christian ideas in a visual form.
Many have their origins in the Bible and some have evolved from other religious symbols or even pagan ones. Early Christians used them as secret signs of their beliefs but today we see them everywhere, on churches, clothing, jewelry and even bumper stickers. Here are the top ten symbols for Christians.
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10. Three Rings
The Borromean Rings are the most popular Christian symbol of the Holy Trinity, the belief that God is one Being in three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The five-pointed star or Star of Bethlehem represents the birth of Jesus. The six-pointed star or Star of Creation represents the six days of creation and is the same as the symbol of Judaism. The 8-pointed star or Star of Redemption is the symbol of baptism and seen on baptismal fonts.
Water is a symbol of baptism because of its primary role in this ritual washing. Catholic churches have fonts of holy water for use in making the sign of the cross when entering or leaving church. Water also symbolize purification and is used to bless everything from homes to cars to pets.
Many early Christian artwork shows a peacock, which is a symbol of immortality. This comes from an ancient belief that the flesh of the peacock does not decompose after death.
6. Alpha and Omega
Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet respectively and symbolize the belief that God is eternal, the beginning and the end. The letters were used in early Christianity on Roman catacombs or burial places.
5. Palm branch
On Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, the palm branch symbolizes victory as the Gospel reading that day is the story of Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem. The ashes of palms used on Palm Sunday are burned and used on Ash Wednesday to symbolize mortality and penance.
The lamb as a symbol of Jesus comes from the Gospel of John when John the Baptist calls him the Lamb of God.
The dove has many meanings. It primarily symbolizes the Holy Spirit, but it can also represent Christ or the soul and its meaning as a symbol of peace comes from the story of Noah’s dove returning with an olive branch to announce the end of the flood.
2. The fish or Ichthys
The fish, Ichthys in Greek, is an early symbol thought to be used to secretly identify Christians and their meeting places. Fish and fishing are mention often in the Gospels and the symbol is often changed by adding legs to symbolize evolution.
1. Cross and crucifix
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The cross, symbolizing the way Christ died, is probably the most widespread Christian symbol, appearing on churches, statues, rosaries and medallions. A cross with the body of Jesus on it is called a crucifix. There are many variations, such as the Greek cross with equal length arms and the Russian Orthodox cross with a third slanted arm.
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