Christianity has numerous symbols, and the most widely recognized of these are the Christian cross and the Christian fish. Both those symbols go back to the early days of the church. The Christian cross is the symbol most associated with Christian places of worship, and one sits atop the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem -- the place where it is believed Jesus was crucified and buried.
Famous Christian Symbols: The Cross
The Christian cross is the most widely recognized Christian symbol. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus, His Resurrection and the redemption of humanity. It has been known as a symbol of Christianity almost as long as the religion itself has existed. The Emperor Constantine inscribed the cross on the shields of his army, and the subsequent success of his army caused him to officially tolerate Christianity in the Roman Empire for the first time. Now the Christian cross is seen all over the world -- from the small crosses hanging from the necks of individual Christians to the nearly 200-foot crosses seen in places like Groom, Texas and Effingham, Illinois.
Famous Christian Symbols: The Fish
The Christian fish, or the "Ichthys" in Greek, is an early Christian symbol that draws the shape of a fish with a single line. There are many reasons for the importance of this symbol, including an allusion to the Apostles as fishermen and Matthew 4:19, in which Jesus tells Peter and Andrew that he will make them "fish for people." But according to Catholic Online, what made this symbol so popular was the word "fish" itself. The five letters for the Greek word for fish, "Ichthys," also describe the key characteristics of Jesus -- Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.
Some Other Christian Symbols
Many other symbols have been associated with Christianity. The lamb, symbolizing Jesus' sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, is often associated with Christianity. The Greek letters alpha and omega -- the first and last letters of the alphabet -- are often associated with Christianity because the Book of Revelation, chapter 1 verse 8, states: " 'I am the Alpha and the Omega', says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Symbols in Places of Worship
The use of the cross in churches, which are Christian places of worship, is almost universal. Other symbols may also be seen at churches, such as the Christian fish, but there is not a Christian fish in every church. Symbols should not be confused with icons, which are more controversial -- some Protestant Churches shy away from icons in their places of worship due to concerns about idolatry. An example of a Christian icon is the image of Mary, which is common in Catholic churches.
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