Christian orthodox symbols: their meaning and meaning
We all know that if the crescent is the main symbol of Islam, then the sign of Christianity is the cross. But at the same time, any religion is filled with dozens of signs.
Some are well known to our generation, others are so old that only murals or mosaics on ancient cathedrals can remind of the times when such signs were considered sacred. In this article we will try to bring them together, and at the same time to talk about the meaning of each.
Early Christian creeds
Early Christians were often mercilessly executed, so they hid their faith. However, many wanted to somehow recognize their brothers, so symbols were created that at first glance did not resemble the Son of God, but in fact somehow related to His living.
These early Christian symbols are still found in refuge caves that served these people as the first temples. However, in ancient icons and in old churches, they can also be found sometimes.
Or “ichfis” — this is the word in Greek. He was honored for a reason: the word was an acronym of the phrase “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior” popular among Christians (it sounded like “Jesus Christ of Feu Jos Sotir”).
Also, do not forget about the miracles of the Savior, which featured fish. For example, about the Sermon on the Mount, which gathered many people, and when they wanted to eat, He multiplied all 5 loaves and 2 fish (therefore, in some places the fish was depicted along with the bread).
Or about the meeting of the Savior with the Apostle Peter, the fisherman — Jesus then said: «As you now catch fish, so you will catch humans.»
People wore this sign on themselves (around the neck, as we now cross), or depicted on their homes in the form of a mosaic.
This is a sign of firmness and reliability of the church (after all, the anchor could hold a huge ship in place), as well as hopes for resurrection from the dead.
On the domes of some ancient temples you can see a cross, more like an anchor. It is believed that this sign means “the cross conquers the crescent,” that is, Islam.
Although other historians of religion are convinced: it is an anchor.
According to legend, adult birds were not afraid of snake venom. But if the snake crawled into the nest and bit the pelican’s chicks, they could die — to prevent this from happening, the bird tore its own breast with its beak, giving the chicks its blood as a medicine.
That is why the pelican became a symbol of self-sacrifice, bloody communion. This image is more often used during worship.
- Eagle soaring above the city
Means the height of faith.
Nowadays, it has been transformed into an episcopal bishop (an attribute of solemn worship).
In the old days it was believed that the phoenix lived for 2-3 centuries, after which it flew to Egypt and died there, burning. A new, young bird rebelled from this ashes.
Thanks to this legend, the creature became a sign of eternal life.
Sign of the resurrection of all people. This bird sings loudly early in the morning, and all people wake up.
The trumpets of the angels will also ring out at the last hour of the earth, and the dead will rise for the last judgment.
The symbol of heavenly life that awaits the righteous on the other side of death.
This is a monogram of the two Greek words «Anointed One» and «Christ.» Often it is decorated with two more letters — «alpha» and «omega» (that is, «beginning» and «end», which means the Lord).
Where can I see this Christian sign? On the baptismal, sarcophagus martyrs.
And also on military shields and ancient Roman coins (when the persecution of Christians ended and this belief became the state).
Many people know that this is a royal heraldic sign, but first of all it is a symbol of purity and purity (that is why even on modern icons the Virgin Mary is depicted with such a flower in her hands). By the way, it can also be seen on the icons of martyrs, martyrs, and saints honored for a particularly righteous life.
Although this sign was revered in Old Testament times (for example, lilies decorated the temple of Solomon).
When the Archangel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary to inform that soon she would give birth to the Son of God, this flower was in his hand.
Sometimes lily depicted in thorns.
As we know, Jesus said: «I am the vine, and my father is the husbandman.» The theme of wine is often mentioned in Christianity, because it is this drink that is used during the sacrament.
The image of the vine adorned the temples, as well as ritual utensils.
In addition to the signs described above, there were others that were used by ancient Christians:
- pigeon (Holy Spirit),
- a cup of wine and a basket of bread (saturation, faith and the blessings of the Lord is enough for everyone),
- sprig of olive tree,
- spikelet, ears of corn, sheaves (apostles),
- the sun,
- the house (or one brick wall),
- lion (the power and strength of God, the church),
- Taurus, ox, bull (martyrdom, service to the Savior).
Symbols Known to Modern Believers
- Crown of thorns. They are jesting Jesus «crowned» by Roman soldiers, leading him to execution. This is a sign of suffering, voluntarily brought for someone (in this case — for all of humanity).
- Lamb. The sign of the Savior’s sacrifice for the sins of mankind. As young lambs or pigeons were laid on the altar as a sacrifice to God at that time, so the Son of God became a sacrifice for the sake of all people.
- Shepherd. This is the name for Christ, who is worried for the souls of his loyal people, as a good shepherd for his sheep. This image is also very ancient. The first Christians painted the image of the Good Shepherd in their sanctuaries, since there was no “sedition” in it — it was difficult to immediately guess that this was the image of the Son of God. By the way, for the first time the image of the Shepherd is mentioned in Psalms, in psalm 22 of King David.
- Dove. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity (Lord, His Son and the Holy Spirit). This ancient sign (as well as the Easter images of the Lamb) people still honor.
- Halo. It means holiness and approaching the Lord.
- The eight-pointed cross. Also known as «Orthodox,» «Byzantine,» or «Cross of St. Lazarus.» The middle crossbar — they crucified the Son of God on it, the top one — this is the very sign on which Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Judean King cynically wrote. The lower crossbar, according to the church’s historians, was also nailed on the very cross on which Jesus offered up his sacrifice.
- Triangle. Someone mistakenly considers it a sign of the Masons. In fact, it is a symbol of the trinity of the Trinity. Important: all sides of such a triangle should be equal!
- Arrows. On the icons they are often put in the hands of the Virgin (remember at least the icon of the «Seven-way»). This sign means the prophecy of Simeon the God-bearer, who declared that Jesus is the Son of God almost immediately after His birth. In prophecy, he said to the Virgin: «You will pass the weapon into the soul, and the thoughts of many people will open to you.»
- Skull. Adam’s head. At the same time a sign of death and resurrection. One legend says: on Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, there was the dust of the first man of Adam (therefore this skull is placed on icons at the base of the cross). When the Savior’s blood was shed on this dust, it symbolically washed all mankind from sins.
- All-seeing eye. This eye of the Lord is a sign of His wisdom and omniscience. Most often this symbol is included in a triangle.
- Eight-pointed (Bethlehem) star. Symbol of the birth of Jesus. Her name is also the Mother of God. By the way, in ancient centuries the number of its rays was different (constantly changing). For example, in the 5th century there were nine rays, they meant the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Burning bush. More often — a burning thorn bush through which the Lord spoke with Moses. Less often — the sign of the Virgin, into which the Holy Spirit entered.
- Angel. Means the earthly incarnation of the Son of God.
- Seraphim The six-winged angel of those closest to the Lord. Carries a fiery sword. It can have both one face and many (up to 16). It is a sign of the Lord’s love and purifying heavenly fire.
And besides these symbols, there is also a cross. Rather, crosses — in the Christian (as well as pre-Christian) traditions, a great multitude has been created, and each carries some meaning in it. This video will help to understand the ten most popular, although in fact they are much more:
And of course, we could not help but tell how the Orthodox cross differs from the Catholic cross. And although it is believed that it does not matter what kind of crucifix you wear, but faith is important — yet you should not violate the tenets of your religion with a cross. Tips for choosing this is not jewelry, but the strongest talisman and sign of a conscious choice of life — here:
Guess today with the help of the tarot spread "Day map"!
For proper divination: focus on the subconscious and do not think about anything at least 1-2 minutes.