What Is The Jesus Fish

Ichthys – Wikipedia

Theichthysorichthus(), derived from theGreekikhths(, 1st century AD), is a mythological figure. Fish (pronounced in Koine Greek as “fish”) is a sign composed of two crossing arcs, with the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point in order to mimic the profile of a fish (see illustration). As a hidden symbol, the emblem was embraced by Christians every year as a tradition. It is now referred to as the “symbol of the fish” or the “Jesus fish” in colloquial language.


In ancient Greece, the circular ichthys sign (YEphesus) was formed by merging the Greek letters Y and E. Christian art and literature have been depicted with the ichthys since the second century. The usage of the sign among Christians had gained popularity by the late 2nd century, and its use had expanded throughout the world by the 3rd and 4th centuries. At one point in early Christian history, the ichthys symbol was considered to have “the most holy meaning,” and Christians used it to identify churches and other believers at a time when they were being persecuted in the Roman Empire by using this emblem.

The emblem is depicted in theCatacombs of Saint Sebastian and in the Catacomb of Priscilla, and it is also described in the Latin work titledOracula Sibillina, which dates back to the first and second centuries, respectively.

Symbolic meaning

Isoûs Khristós, Theoû Huiós, Str;contemporary Koine, which can be translated into English as “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” is anacronymoracrostic for ” ,”Isoûs Khristós, Theoû Huiós, Str;contemporary Koine, which can be translated into English as “Jesus Christ,

  • “Jesus,” Iota(i), Isoûs(o), “Jesus,” Iota(i), Isoûs(o), “Jesus,” Iota(i), Isoûs(o), “Jesus,” ” anointed “
  • Chi(ch),Khristós(), ” anointed “
  • Theta(th),Theoû(), “of God,” thegenitive singularofó,Theós, “God”
  • Upsilon(y or u),(h)uiós(Y), “Son”
  • Upsilon( “Savior” is represented by the Greek letters sigma(s), str(a), and tr(a).

Using an old passage from the Sibylline oracles, Augustine creates an anagram of the producing sentence, which is then used in his sermon. When early Christians proclaimed “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” they were reaffirming their conviction in Christ’s dual nature, since he was both completely human and fully divine at the same time. In a fourth-century modification ofichthys, the letters Y are represented by a circular form in the eight lines that divide the shape, rather than the traditional square shape.

In the Gospels

In the Gospels, fish are referenced and given metaphorical meaning on a number of occasions. Several of Jesus’ 12 Apostles were fishermen, as was John the Baptist. He commissions them with the words “I will make you fishers of men.” He then leaves them to work. (Matthew 1: 16–18) According to Luke 24:41-43, after his resurrection, Jesus was served grilled fish. A youngster is brought to Jesus at the feeding of the five thousand, and he is given “five tiny loaves and two fish.” “But what are they, among all the others?” the questioner inquires.

  • During the Parable of the Fishing Net in Matthew 13:47-50, Jesus compares the separation of righteous from evil at the end of this world to fishers sifting their catch, keeping the good fish and tossing the bad fish away, as if they were sorting their catch.
  • When Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, they did so and caught a total of 153 fish.
  • In Matthew 17:24-27, when asked if his Teacher pays the temple tax (also known as the two-drachma tax), Simon Peter responds affirmatively.
  • Peter follows these instructions and discovers the coin.

The fish is also used by Jesus to explain what is known as “the Sign of Jonah.” (1 Corinthians 15:22-25; Matthew 12:38-45). This is a representation of Jesus’ resurrection, which is the foundation of the whole Christian religion. (1 Corinthians 15:1-58) 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 1 Corinthians 15:1-58

In the Book of Tobit

According to the orders of Raphael the Archangel, in theDeuterocanonicalBook of Tobit, the young cousin and future spouse of Sarah grabs a fish when it is attempting to devour his feet while bathing in the riverTigris. In order to be saved from the daemon Asmodeus, he is then advised on how to present it to the god.

Early church

The fish emblem was used by early Christians to identify meeting locations and cemeteries, as well as to differentiate between friends and opponents, according to tradition, during their persecution by the Roman Empire in the first few decades following Christ. Several centuries ago, when a Christian saw a stranger on the road, the Christian would sometimes draw one arc of a basic fish outline in the mud. Whether or not the stranger drew the opposing arc, both believers were aware that they were in good company.

― Elesha Coffman, “Ask the Expert” column in Christianity Today.

According to some historians, the dove or the fish was first mentioned in literature when Clement of Alexandria advised his readers (Paedagogus, III, xi) to engrave their seals with the dove or the fish.

Callistusthat Christians were aware of the fish emblem for a considerably longer period of time.

In popular culture

A Y (′′ichthys′′) fish symbol on the side of an automobile In the 1970s, the “Jesus Fish” began to be utilized as an image of modern Christianity, and its popularity grew from there. The Aquarius Rock Festival in Nimbin, Australia, had the first appearance of the sign and message in 1973. Currently, it can be seen as an adecalor insignia on the rear of autos or as pendants or necklaces worn by Christians as a statement of their religious affiliation. There are other variations of this, including an Ichthys with “Jesus” or “” in the center, or simply the Ichthys shape by itself.

The Ichthus Music Event is an annual huge outdoor Christian music festival that takes place in Wilmore, Kentucky, around the middle of June each year.

See also

  • In addition to the awareness ribbon, Chi Rho and Labarum, depictions of Jesus, Ichthus Christian Fellowship, an eagle catching fish, INRI, and Matsya are also included.


  1. “ichthus,” third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  2. The Los Angeles Times published an article stating that (1 April 2008). “The Evolution of Religious Bigotry”.latimes.com
  3. “The Evolution of Religious Bigotry”. T. Rasimus, T. Rasimus et al (2011). “Revisiting the Ichthys: A Suggestion Concerning the Origins of Christological Fish Symbolism” is a paper published in the journal “Revisiting the Ichthys.” Pp 327-348 in Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature: Ideas and Practices, edited by Michael J. Smith. Biblical studies, the ancient Near East, and the origins of Christianity are some of my specialties. Electronic Books Online (EBO), Collection 2012,76
  4. Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell are co-authors of this work (11 March 2014). ISBN 9781483323527 (Propaganda and Persuasion). SAGE Publications. p. 86 (ISBN 9781483323527). It was first employed as a hidden symbol during a time when Christians were being persecuted by the Roman authorities
  5. The fish reflected, in a straightforward and efficient manner, the goal of the group it represented. J. Healy & Associates, Inc. (Feb 1884). “The Holy Wells of Ireland.” The Irish Monthly.12(128): 89. “The Holy Wells of Ireland.” It must be kept in mind, however, that the “fish,” particularly in those early days, was a Christian symbol of supreme significance, and hence must be treated as such. The nameichthus, which is the Greek word for fish, as well as the fish itself, appear often among the religious emblems of the early Christians found in the Catacombs, and this is not surprising. The letters of the Greek word formed the first letters of the phrase “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour,” which is derived from the Greek term. Thus, the heavenly Ichthus was Jesus Christ, and we are the smaller fishes, as Tertullian puts it, “born in the waters of baptism,” “caught in the net of redemption,” and “become members of the heavenly kingdom.” There is a reference to the same symbol for the Holy Eucharist, with which the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes had such an intimate connection both in terms of time and significance
  6. “The Christian symbols: the language of faith” (in Italian)
  7. “The Galleries of the Cemetery”
  8. And “The Christian symbols: the language of faith” (in English). Carletti’s full name is Carlo Carletti (November 20, 2009). “The winner’s mark,” says the narrator. The Roman newspaper L’Osservatore Romano (The Roman Observer) (in Italian). April 3, 2021
  9. Retrieved April 3, 2021
  10. Christian H. Bull, Liv Ingeborg Lied, and John D. Turner are the editors of this volume (2012). Ideological underpinnings and practices of mystery and secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and other ancient literature Publisher: Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, p. 327. ISBN978-90-04-21207-7.CS1 a list of writers with numerous names is maintained (link)
  11. According to dialect and era, the beginning “h” was occasionally spoken
  12. However, in Ionic orthography, the “h” sound was represented with the rough breathingdiacritical mark connected to the upsilon, rather than with a whole letter (), and hence would not be used to make a backronym. By the Early Christian period, theaspirate had most likely disappeared from most common variations of Greek
  13. Sibylline oracles, Book viii, 284-330 (Greek text, 217-250)
  14. Sibylline oracles, Book viii, 284-330 (Greek text, 2 Christian H. Bull, Liv Ingeborg Lied, and John D. Turner are the editors of this volume (2012). Ideological underpinnings and practices of mystery and secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and other ancient literature Publisher: Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 340 and 343. ISBN 978-90-04-21207-7.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. Goodenough, Erwin Ramsdell, and others (1953). During the Greco-Roman period, Jewish emblems were used. Pages 57 and 63 of the book Pantheon Books. New York: Pantheon Books. OCLC123261511
  17. s^ “Eureka! In the heart of ancient Rome, students make discoveries, yet a mystery remains unsolved “. Blog about ideas and creations. retrieved on November 4, 2012
  18. Luke 24:41-43
  19. Matthew 13:47-50
  20. John 21:11
  21. Matthew 17:24-27
  22. Tobit 6:1-9
  23. Elesha Coffman (August 8, 2008). What is the origin of the Christian fish symbol?” asks christianitytoday.com
  24. “Christian symbols: Fish (Ichthus), cross, and crucifix” is another source of information. religioustolerance.org. Obtainable on April 22, 2014. The symbol’s body may be completely empty, or it may include a name (such as ‘Jesus’ or ‘ICTUS’)
  25. Garbowski, Christopher (author) (27 January 2014). Religious Life in Poland: Its Origins, Diversity, and Contemporary Concerns McFarland & Company, p. 222. ISBN9780786475896. The fish sticker on the car is a more conscious symbol of a witnessing Christian than the rosaries hanging from rearview mirrors or St. Christopher figures on the dashboard, which are still common enough in Poland. It is also noticeable because, unlike the rosaries, it is displayed on the outside of the car, where everyone can see it. Some Catholics who are interested in displaying the emblem on their vehicles are prevented from doing so. Because they believe that its existence may not be accompanied by the excellent driving behaviors that should accompany it
  26. See, for example, Greg Robison’s Christian Rock Festivals (New York: The Rosen Publishing Co., 2009), p.7
  27. And Christian Rock Festivals (New York: The Rosen Publishing Co., 2009).

External links

Look upichthysin Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
  • The Fish (Ichthus), the Cross, and the Crucifix are the most important Christian symbols. In-depth descriptions of various common Christian symbols, including the ichthys
  • Symbolism of the Fish- Catholic Encyclopedia article

Jesus Fish

What exactly is the Jesus Fish? The Jesus fish is a well-known symbol that is made up of two curved lines that are meant to resemble the image of a fishing pole.

The symbol is also referred to as an Ichthys in some circles (coming from the ancient Greek word for fish). IXYY is an acronym formed from the first letter of the words “Jesus Christ God’s Son is Savior,” which are pronounced “Jesus Christ God’s Son is Savior.” These are the words:

  • The Greek letters I–I ota and I esous represent Christ and Jesus, respectively
  • X–C hi and C hristos represent Christ and Christ, respectively
  • T–T heta and T heou represent God and Christ, respectively
  • Y–U psilon and Y ios/Huios represent Son and Savior, respectively
  • And Y–S igma and S oter represent Saviour and Christ, respectively.

What is the purpose of the Jesus Fish? The Jesus fish is a Christian symbol that first gained popularity in the mid-1960s and can now be found on a variety of items ranging from religious attire to automobile bumper stickers. Those who wish to identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ frequently display the Jesus fish on various items such as key chains, vehicle windows, and business cards, among other things. Additionally, the Christian or Jesus fish emblem is used in corporate and store advertisements to attract customers who are seeking for firms that operate with Christian integrity and ethical standards.

  • It is possible to find the Jesus fish on websites and in personal communications these days, thanks to technological advances.
  • The Jesus fish is considered to be one of the first Christian symbols.
  • During a time of persecution, it is said that the fish provided Christians with a simple manner of identifying themselves as believers.
  • In a time when Christians were admonishing people against idol worship and false saviors, it was critical for them to stay firm and express their convictions even when doing so put them in danger.
  • It’s likely that these references influenced the design of the emblem.
  • Many of Jesus’ earliest followers worked as fisherman in their day-to-day lives.
  • For these fisherman, the symbolism reflected their responsibility to bring souls into awareness and acknowledgement of Jesus as their Savior.
See also:  Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity

There are additional biblical passages that mention fish, such as the miracle of Jesus feeding five thousand people with “five little loaves and two fishes,” which occurred when He multiplied a young boy’s “five small loaves and two fishes.” These events are recounted in each of the four Gospels: Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6.

Find Out More!

– We have all sinned and are deserving of God’s wrath.

According to the Bible, Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a spotless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, accepting the penalty that we deserved, was buried, and rose from the grave to show us His love for us.

Yes, I have made the decision to follow Jesus as of today. Yes, I am already a disciple of Jesus Christ. I still have a lot of questions.

What is the origin of the Christian fish symbol?

Photograph courtesy of Freedom Studio/Shutterstock Sign up for Christianity Today and you’ll gain instant access to back issues of Christian History! What is the origin of the Christian fish symbol? What is the meaning of the Christian fish symbol? The term “ichthys” is the Greek word for fish. Christians created an acrostic from this term as early as the first century, which read: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, which means Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Savior. The fish has a number of additional theological implications as well, since Christ fed the 5,000 with two fishes and five loaves (a meal that is replicated at Christian love-fests) and referred to his disciples as “fishers of men” when they caught them.

  1. Putting it another way, theologian Tertullian described it as follows: “We, small fishes, following the likeness of our Ichthys, Jesus Christ, are born in the water.” Before Christians, the fish sign was utilized by the Greeks, the Romans, and many other pagans.
  2. When Christians were threatened by the Romans in the first decades following Christ, they used the fish to mark meeting locations and cemeteries, as well as to identify allies from opponents, among other things.
  3. Whether or not the stranger drew the opposing arc, both believers were aware that they were in good company.
  4. Critics of the fish emblem either dismiss it as cheesy symbolism or point out that the fish symbol still bears baggage from its paganic origins, when it was used to symbolise fertility or, more particularly, the female reproductive organs, in ancient times.
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Ichthys, The Christian Fish Symbol: 5 Origin and History Facts

There are several places where you may find it, including on someone’s clothing, in a newspaper advertisement, and even on the back of the car ahead of you in traffic. The familiar Christian Fish emblem or the Jesus Fish is a hand-drawn fish with a cross for an eye and the name Jesus in the centre, which is often accompanied by a cross or the word Jesus in the middle. Although the Christian fish sign, also known as Ichthys, re-emerged in popular culture around the 1960s, the symbol has historical qualities that can be traced back to the expansion and unity of Christianity long before it became widely accepted in contemporary society today.

Your eyes may well up in gratitude for the fish’s presence in our lives for centuries or your mind may be blown away by the fact that such an insignificant figure has had such a significant influence on the Christian faith as it has.

1. The symbolism of the fish emerged from the Greeks – Ichthys.

The fish, which many people may be familiar with in this form, derives from the Greek word for fish, “ichthys/ichthus,” which means “fish.” Another way to think about this term is through the acrostic IXNYy (with the N inverted), which translates to:I – Iota or Iesous (which means Jesus) X – Chi or Christos is a Greek letter (which means Christ) N – Theta or Theou is a Greek letter (which means God) Y – Upsilon, often known as Yidos/Huios (which means Son) Y – Sigma or Soter is the answer (which means Savior).

To put it simply, the fish depicts the statement “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is Savior.” Some study has claimed that the fish emblem initially appeared in the first century, maybe even before Jesus died on the cross, but no certain date has been established for when the symbol and its meaning first appeared on a piece of artwork.

2. The fish (ichthys) was used as code for persecuted Christians to meet.

It was used by Christians who were hiding from the Romans during the early centuries to mark meeting locations where everyone might come together and worship in order to avoid detection. In addition, because the fish emblem was widely employed by various ancient cults, no one would be suspicious of what they may be. They could be found on trees, doors, and even tombstones.

3. The fish (Ichthys) could be used in determining who was a Christian and who was an enemy.

According to one narrative passed down regarding the fish emblem, the fish was utilized to communicate whether or not someone was a Christian or whether or not he/she was someone who wanted to hate Christians in general. When two individuals came face to face, the Christian would draw the first half of a fish on the sand to indicate their meeting. If the other person accurately drew the other half of the fish, the Christian knew he or she was in the company of a fellow Christian. As long as the fish was only partially completed, it would appear as though an innocent individual had just drawn in the sand with no intent of harming anyone.

4. The Christian fish relates to several Scripture references of fish in the Bible.

There are other biblical allusions to fish that may be remembered, such as when Jesus fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish (Matt. 14:15-21;Mark 6:34-44;Luke 9:11-17;John 6:5-13). There is also the example of Jesus asking His disciples to be “fishers of men,” in which Jesus instructed these men to share the Good News with others so that they may come to know Jesus as their Savior (Matt. 4:19). The kingdom of heaven is defined as a “dragnet” that is used to attract people of all kinds into the kingdom, with the example of fishing being used to illustrate the message (Matt.

Who could forget that, following His resurrection from the death, Jesus prepared fish for His disciples, demonstrating to them that He was their Lord and had been set free from the grave?

This is the message that all of these biblical passages convey: that fish symbolizes a significant part of the Bible, where it was not only used to offer fellowship and the love of Jesus to everybody, but it was also used to reveal God’s kingdom to Christians in a visual and compelling way.

The lyrics express the concept that when we demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus to others (as if we were casting a net), we will attract lost individuals to us who are in desperate need of knowing that the Savior cares about them.

5. There are several other forms of the fish used today.

It’s possible that you’ve seen the fish on automobile bumpers, but they appear to be ones that say things like “evolve within it” or “have feet below it.” Similarly to how the Christian fish sign re-emerged in popularity in the 1960s and beyond, individuals who hold ideas that are diametrically opposed to the Christian religion have made their positions plain by alternate presentations of the Christian fish emblem.

Evolutionists (those who believe we evolved from the earth, rather than from God), Star Trek fans (Trekkies), and even those who worship pasta (pastafarians) have altered the Christian fish symbol to represent their beliefs rather than what the Christian fish symbol truly represents in its original form.

  1. Pray that they will recognize what God is trying to communicate to them and that they will find the peace they require in the Savior.
  2. Simply wearing a Christian fish on your tee-shirt, including it on your business card, or including it at the conclusion of an email is insufficient to replace the personal connection with Jesus that can only be obtained by faith.
  3. Take this understanding of the Christian fish to heart, and let it to impact your everyday decisions and actions in the future.
  4. As you discover more about the meaning behind this iconic sign, it is hoped that you will be led to being a fisherman, bringing people to Christ and the unwavering love of God that never fails or disappoints.
  5. He also works as an editor for Xulon Press.
  6. She currently freelances for the Southwest Orlando Bulletin.

What does the Christian fish symbol mean (ixthus / icthus)?

QuestionAnswer The Christian fish emblem is one of the most widely used motifs in Christian art and architecture. The fish sign, together with the cross, is possibly the most recognised religious emblem in the world. It may be found on a variety of items including automobiles, Bible covers, tattoos, and more. Because the connection between Christ and a basic line drawing of a fish is not immediately evident, a little explanation is necessary. A quick recap: The fish logo was inspired by an abbreviation for the phrase “Jesus Christ, God’s Son and Savior” that is found in the Greek language.

  • In English, the phrase is written as We get the word “fish” when we take the initial letter of each word in that sentence and combine them to form the word “ixthusoricthus,” which is the Greek word for “fish” (ixthusoricthus – the spelling can vary in English).
  • The Christian fish emblem also conjures up images of many events from Jesus’ life and ministry.
  • He shared fish with His disciples at least twice following His resurrection, according to the Bible (Luke 24:42; John 21:13).
  • As a matter of fact, Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand and his feeding of the four thousand both began with a meal of fish (Matthew 14:15–21; 15:32–38).
  • It was common practice for Christians to paint or carve fish on the outside of their homes to let others know they would be safe and welcome inside.
  • A magnificent summation of biblical truth about the Lord is found in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and Savior, and the Christian fish symbol is a great way to demonstrate one’s confidence in Him.
  • Jesus emphasized frequently about the importance of interior truth as opposed to external displays of religious devotion.

Those who use the Christian fish sign should ensure that they are familiar with Christ, that they trust Him as Savior, and that they obey Him as Lord before using it. Go back to the page with all of the Bible questions. What exactly does the Christian fish sign (ixthus / icthus) represent?

Urban Dictionary: jesus fish

If it was discovered that a person was a Christian in ancient Greece, they would be killed. Consequently, theichthys (Jesus fish) was utilized as a means of introducing two Christians to one another. To create the ichthys, one guy would draw the first arch in the ground with a stick or staff and then stand there until another man came along and finished drawing the second arch to complete the work. Using this strategy, both men would be aware that the other was a Christian without taking the danger of stating it out loud.

The ichthys is truly a sign of fertility in ancient Greek mythology.

In its original configuration, it was exhibited with the football-shaped hole pointing up and the open end facing down.

Atargatis is also known by several other names in other civilizations, including Tirgata, Aphrodite, Pelagia, and Delphine.

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It is a small piece of fish-shaped plastic, usually made in China, that is attached to the rear of primarily American-owned vehicles to demonstrate to the rest of world that the bearer prefers to ignore irrefutable evidence discovered by the world’s most brilliant minds in science and base their smug, superior public personas on fairy tales and superstition, while engaging in secretive sessions of drug-fueled sexual debauchery and other hypocrisy.

Get yourself a Jesus fish mug.

Christian fish symbol has a long history

One of the symbols that brought ancient Christians together in the early Christian community was the cross of Jesus Christ. It was one of the symbols that brought primitive Christians together. Additionally, the ichthus, or fish sign, was considered to be one of the most crucial in revealing the mysteries of what would become known as Christianism after that. The usage of the fish emblem in paganic art dates back thousands of years. Many of the mystery cults, such as the cult of Isis, have previously used it in their rituals and ritualistic practices.

Despite the fact that he did not provide an explanation for its use, it appears as though the Christian community to which he was writing was aware of the symbol’s significance.

However, there was a deeper, more hidden, and more secret significance behind it.

“Iesous Christos, Theou Yios, Soter,” or, in the English translation of the Greek, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” was the meaning of this phrase to the early Christian community: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” The Catacombs have several renditions of the fish sign, which may be seen on the walls.

They were able to recognize each other without the necessity for spoken communication because to the use of the fish sign.

The outline of the fish was drawn on a rock or in the mud when a Christian came face to face with a stranger while traveling along the road.

The fish sign was also carved into walls or rocks to indicate the site of secret Christian gatherings that took place at various locations across the world.

Tertullian, the church founder, would subsequently refer to the early Christians who were being baptized as “Little fishes, following the image of our Ichthys, born in water,” referring to the fact that they were “born in water.” (Tertiary Baptism, Tert.1) The persecution of Christians came to an end during the reign of the Emperor Constantine (307-337 A.D.), who declared Christianity to be the official religion of the empire.

  • As Christianity grew and the secret of the “mystery fish” became more generally known across the world, the fish emblem appears to have faded away around the fourth century.
  • Silent Fishing is a novel written by Michael Hickey.
  • The expression “A sign to the wise is illuminating, and sometimes tells them more” has been used many times previously.
  • We should utilize it frequently, whether we are speaking, writing, or praying.
  • If a fish is captured, proceed as necessary.
  • Michael Hickey is a writer and poet from Pelican Bay, Massachusetts, who divides his time between the towns of Swampscott and Pelican.

Random House Publishing and may be purchased by calling 1-888-795-4274 Ext. 822, visiting Xlibris.com, or visiting your local bookshop. Xlibris Div. Random House Publishing is a division of Random House Publishing. Mike Hickey can be reached at [email protected].

Ichthys: The Meaning of the Christian Fish Symbol

Understanding Christian symbolsoften necessitates a search that extends further back in time than the period when it was first included into the faith. Likewise, theIchthysor thefish sign is not an exception to this rule. This Christian emblem is considered to have existed for far longer than it has been employed only in the Christian faith, and we’ll look at how it’s managed to change over time and become such a crucial piece of the jigsaw in the next section. We’ll go into the history of the sign and the phrase in greater detail, as well as how these two items were able to allow Christians to gather in safety at a time when Christianity was outlawed in the United States and elsewhere.

1) Ichthys – The Origin of the Symbol

The fish symbol’s origins may be traced back to Greek civilization, to the first century AD, where it first appeared. The emblem was really employed to symbolise fertility at the time and was regarded an apagan talisman at the time of its creation. The sign was in fact used to denote a ‘fish vessel’ during those times, and the culture believed ‘fish’ and’womb” to be practically the same term at the time. Thus, the fish became a depiction of the female sexual organ and was employed as a symbol of all female gods, as well as of women in general.

  1. It was utilized as a sole image of women, fertility, and sexuality in popular culture.
  2. While individuals who follow Christianity may not always comprehend theichthys’ meaning, others who do not may do so.
  3. In reality, the familiarity with the sign and the widespread use of the symbol during that time period were the primary factors for the symbol’s adaptation in the manner that it has been done.
  4. A magnificent assortment of one-of-a-kind items, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces, all of which depict the classic Ichthus, a prominent emblem of Christianity throughout history.

2) Ichthys – The Greek Etymology

The term’ichthys’is really a Greek word for fish, and it was chosen to go along with the sign since it is a common word in Greek. In addition, you may observe in this sign an inscription with Greek letters:IXNYY(with the N reversed), which represents the acronym for the following:

  • Jesus is represented by the Greek letters Iota and Christos
  • Christos is represented by the Greek letter X
  • God is represented by the Greek letter Theta
  • Son is represented by the Greek letter Yidos/Huios
  • Savior is represented by the Greek letter Y – Sigma or Soter is represented by the Greek letter Y
  • And God is represented by the Greek letter N.

It is represented by these characters from the Greek alphabet, which stand for “Jesus Christ God’s Son is Savior “.

A. Ichthys or Ichthus?

Several variant spellings of the term have been seen, while the ancient Greek indicates it to be either’ichthys ” or ” ichthus ” in spelling. In the course of linguistic studies, it appears that ‘ichthus’ is the more genuine variant of the word, yet both have been used interchangeably throughout history.

B. How to Pronounce “Ichthys”?

When spoken by the Greeks in ancient times, this would have been pronounced ICK-thous, while it is more usually pronounced as ICK-thees in more modern renditions of the phrase.

As a result of widespread phonetic changes within the common English language as compared to the ancient Greek language, this is very likely the case.

3) The Fish Symbol in Christianity

The fish originally became connected with Christianity somewhere about the second century AD, when it was used as a hidden sign by Christians to communicate with one another in secret. Christian leaders believed that, because Jesus was known as “the fisher of men,” the sign was particularly appropriate for informing fellow Christians of their desire to assemble and assisting them in determining the best time and location for the gathering. Theichthys fish was also frequently employed in a variety of diverse faiths, early churches, and organizations throughout history.

A.The Fish Symbol as a Code for Persecuted Christians

When Christians were persecuted by the Romans in the first century, they concealed the fish emblem and used it to mark meeting spots and places of prayer in the dark. Trees, doorways, and even gravestones were decorated with these symbols. Given that this emblem was also utilized by other pagan cults, there was no need to be suspicious of what it actually represented. More than that, the ichthys symbolcould be used to discern whether or not another person was a fellow Christian or an adversary.

  1. The absence of a response indicated that the other individual was not a Christian, yet the figure in the sand appeared to be insignificant.
  2. Over time, however, the sign has come to represent even more within the context of contemporary Christianity.
  3. Christians employ the emblem in a variety of contexts, and it has evolved into a symbol that represents more than simply a clandestine gathering.
  4. It is a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and many Christians think that it represents much more than just the modest beginnings of its function in early Christianity, and that it represents much more than just the humble beginnings of its position in early Christianity.

4) Reference to the Fish in the Bible (Ichthys)

A variety of allusions to fish and the significance of fish in the Christian religion can be found in the Bible, which we will discuss next. Throughout reality, this emblem of Christianity appears in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as in several other places in the Bible. This appears to make it even more evident that the ichthys symbol has a significant meaning within the Christian faith, and that it has always had a significant meaning within the beliefs of those who follow the faith.

  1. The following are specific Bible verses that reference the power of fish both inside the Bible and in relation to the Christian faith: Afterwards, they informed Him that they had just five loaves and two fish on hand.
  2. Then He instructed the throngs of people to take a seat on the grass.
  3. So they all ate until they were satisfied, and then they gathered twelve baskets full of the fragments that were left over.
  4. “But you give them something to eat,” He said to them.
  5. “Take a look for yourself.” And when they discovered the truth, they said, “Five and two fish.” After that, He instructed them to gather everyone together on the green grass in small groups.
  6. Then, after He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He lifted His eyes to the heavens, blessed and split the loaves, and He distributed them among His disciples to be put before them; and the two fish He divided among all of them.
  7. Mark 6:37-41 (KJV) His response was that they should provide something to eat for the people.

Because there were around five thousand men in all.

Then He took the five loaves and two fish, blessed and broke them in the presence of the crowds while gazing up to heaven.

As a result, they all ate and were satisfied, and they collected twelve baskets of the remaining bits off the table.

Suddenly, there was a lot of grass in the area.

And Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks, He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples distributed them to those who were sitting down; and he did the same with the fish, giving them as much as they desired.

When they arrived, Jesus instructed them to “bring some of the fish you have just caught.” A hundred and fifty-three huge fish were caught in Simon Peter’s net, which he hauled to the shore.

“Come and have breakfast with us,” Jesus invited them to do.

This is the third time that Jesus has appeared to His followers after He was risen from the dead, according to the Bible.

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What Is The Meaning Of The Christian Fish Symbol?

You may see them on automobiles and trucks all over the place. It is possible that a significant percentage of the automobiles in the church parking lot will have them displayed on their bumpers and back windows. In appearance, it has the shape of a fish’s body outline on it. Is it possible to tell if the driver is a fisherman or a fisherwoman from these symbols? Is he or she a fish-worshipper for whatever reason? What exactly is this sign, and where did it originate? Let’s look at it a little more thoroughly.

As stated in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, “Neither is it known how early this usage evolved” in regards to the use of the fish emblem as a Christian symbol (p.

We know that it reflects Christianity in the modern day, but to learn more about it, one would have to examine old original sources, assuming such materials survive at all.

Symbol Meaning

The Greek term for fish is ‘ichthus,’ which means “fishing” (transliterated from the Greek). Early Christians created an acrostic from the letters Iesous (Jesus), CH=Christos (Christ), TH=Theous (God), U= UIOS (Son), and SOTER (Son of God) as follows_I= Iesous (Jesus); CH=Christos (Christ); TH=Theous (God); U= UIOS (Son); SOTER (Son of God) (Savior). Consequently, the thought of a fish or the sight of its symbol would quickly conjure up images of Jesus Christ and his saving work in the believer’s heart.

See also:  Stable Where Jesus Was Born

When Christians used the fish emblem, they were able to identify themselves to one another without the government or religious authority recognizing them.

The Necessity of the Early Symbol Use

In their day, both the government and ecclesiastical leaders persecuted the early Christians, who were known as heretics. In ancient Rome, emperors frequently saw themselves as gods, and they insisted that the people worship them in that capacity. So these emperors and their reign were threatened by this Christian faith, which worshipped Jesus Christ as its central figure. As a result, these followers of Christ were required to keep their religious views disguised from the authorities. The Jews were likewise of the opinion that these Christians were worshiping a false deity.

Thus, Christians had to conceal their Christian faith from Jewish authorities as well as the general public.

The act of drawing half of the fish symbol in the dirt upon meeting someone new revealed whether the other person was a Christian or not.

A believer’s religious views could be kept secret since they were not recognized by others who did not agree with the believer’s religious beliefs.

Present Day Usage

The significance of the fish emblem in the United States appears to be mostly aesthetic rather than symbolic. Because American Christians do not fear being put to death or imprisoned for their beliefs, at least for the time being, the emblem attached to automobiles and other things helps to identify the user as a follower of Jesus Christ, according to the sign. A word of warning for those who are just learning about this symbol: it should not be used carelessly. First and foremost, merely having a fish emblem on one’s automobile does not qualify one as a Christian believer.

A life lived for Jesus is a far more effective witness than a plastic fish on the dashboard of one’s automobile.

There are a number of parodies and mockeries of it that are available.

Just because you see a fish sign on someone’s vehicle does not always imply that they are your spiritual brother or sister in the Lord Jesus Christ.


The popular fish emblem, which may be found on automobiles and other locations, is a Christian sign. It was originally intended to help Christians to identify one another while at the same time preventing those who were antagonistic to Christianity from recognizing Christians. Today, in the United States, anybody can exhibit the emblem without fear of being persecuted by the authorities. Christians should exhibit the Christian fish emblem as a reminder to themselves and others that they are not alone in their Christian faith, as well as to urge nonbelievers to ponder the claims of Christianity.

  1. Used with permission.
  2. J.
  3. Douglas, ed.
  4. 1978.

Ichthys – New World Encyclopedia

Theichthys has been used to represent a variety of concepts throughout history. Ichthys (Greek:, capitalized Y; alternatively transliterated and Latinized asicthus,ichthusorikhthus) is the Ancient and Classical Greek word meaning “fish.” It is derived from the term “ichthus,” which means “fishy.” When written in English, it refers to a symbol composed of two intersecting arcs, with the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point in order to resemble the profile of a fish.

It is believed to have been used by early Christians as a secret symbol, and is now known colloquially as the “sign of the fish” or the “Jesus fish.” Several biblical verses refer to Jesus as being associated with fish or fishing.

(Matthew 14:15-21,Mark 6:30-44,Luke 9:12-17, andJohn 6:4-13).

The major figure of the Age of Pisces, according to some astrologers, is represented by Jesus Christ, who is currently transitioning into the Age of Aquarius.

The Ages go backwards through the signs of the Zodiac in a clockwise direction. An era known as the Age of Aries preceded the birth of Christ, and before that, the Age of Taurus. Each Age has a duration of around 2,000 years.


Ephesus is the site of an early circular ichthys sign, which was made by merging the Greek letters Y. From the end of the first century, the adoption of the Ichthys sign by early Christians appears to have been widespread. C.E.Ichthus(, Greek meaning fish) is an anacronym, which is a word constructed by combining the first letters of numerous words to produce a single word. This acronym stands for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour,” and is derived from the ancient Greek words “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”

  • Jesus’ Greek name, Iesous(), begins with the letter Iota, which is the initial letter of his name. Chi is the initial letter of the Greek word Christos(óó), which means “anointed.” Theta is the initial letter of Theou(), which means “of God,” and is the genitive case of the word “God.” Son is represented by the Greek character Huios (Y), which begins with the letter Upsilon. As the initial letter of Soter(), the Greek word meaning Savior, Sigma represents salvation.

According to historical records, theichthysmotif was first used in the twentieth century as an adaption of an Early Christian emblem that contained a little cross for the eye or the Greek letters “Y.” ichthus is represented as a wheel with the letters overlaid on top of one another such that the result resembles an eight-spoked wheel.

Fish in the Gospels

Fish are referenced and given metaphorical value in the Gospels on a number of occasions, including: In the first place, a number of Jesus’ twelve disciples worked as fisherman. “I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus tells them as he hands over the commission. Another example is a youngster who is brought to Jesus with “five little loaves and two fishes” during the feeding of the five thousand. “But what are they, among all the others?” the questioner inquires. Jesus doubles the loaves and fish in order to feed a large crowd.

  1. Fourth, in John 21:11, it is said that the disciples fished all night but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
  2. Observers have noted that, like many other biblical numbers, this one is related with some sort of mystical feature; in this case the vertical ratio of the form known as thevesica piscis, to name a few examples.
  3. Christ urges Peter to go to the water and cast a line into the deep blue sea.
  4. Peter follows the instructions and successfully locates the coin.

The early Christian church

For centuries before the Edict of Milan, Christian societies in Hellenistic Greece and Roman Greece safeguarded their congregations by keeping their meetings hidden from the general public. Because meeting locations were always changing, they devised a sign that members would instantly identify and that they could scratch on rocks, walls, or other suitable surfaces in advance of a meeting to direct them in the right direction. A similar symbol was being used by the Greeks to identify the place of a burial at the time of the ichthys’ appearance, thus utilizing the emblem appeared to provide a legitimate excuse for Christians to congregate.

  • The book mentions one historic interpretation that is still in use today, which is as follows: “.when a Christian encountered a stranger on the road, the Christian would occasionally draw one arc of a basic fish outline in the ground to indicate their encounter.
  • The usage of the fish on bumper stickers and business cards nowadays is a throwback to this tradition.
  • According to Robert Mills, Clement of Alexandria is credited with making the first known literary reference to the ichthys as a symbol of primordial Christianity in his writings (c.150-c.215).
  • On the other hand, evidence from Roman architectural sources such as the Capella Greca and the Sacrament Chapels of the catacomb of St.
  • During the reign of Domitian, it is possible that this Christian emblem was intended to challenge or protest the pagan apotheosis of the Roman emperor, as evidenced by the presence of this symbol (81 – 96C.E.).
  • Augustus (Octavian) had previously declared himself to be thedivi filius, the son of the divine (Julius), even before Julius Caesar’s death and deification, and had even issued coins to that effect.
  • Another possibility is that it is an allusion to the scriptural passage in which Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 people with fish and bread (Matthew 14:15-21,Mark 6:30-44,Luke 9:12-17, andJohn 6:4-13).
  • Other theories about theHistory of Jesus suggest that Christianity adopted certain beliefs and practices as a syncretism of certain mystery religions such as Mithraism, and that this may be the origin of theichthys in Christian circles.
  • For example, Barbara Walker hypothesizes in her book, The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, that the Ichthys was the son of the ancient sea goddess Atargatis, and this is supported by archaeological evidence.

Moreover, she asserts that the Ichthys sign served as an emblem of both sexuality and fertility. Christian websites, on the other hand, have argued that Walker’s assertions are untrue.

Ichthysin popular culture

The “Jesus Fish” has emerged as a symbol of contemporary Christianity. Currently, it can be visible as a decal or symbol on the rear of autos, or it can be seen as pendants or necklaces worn by Christians to signal to the world that they are Christians. It is included into business logos, as well as in business adverts and listings in telephone directories, among other places. It can also be seen on articles of apparel. There are other variations of this, including an Ichthys with the letters “Jesus” or “Y” in the middle, or just the Ichthys shape by itself.

Parodies of the ichthys symbol

The adoption of the Ichthus sign as a symbol of Christianity has resulted in many distortions of the symbol in popular culture.

  • It is a parody of the Darwin Fish, which appears frequently on bumper stickers and is depicted in reverse and with feet attached, as well as the word “DARWIN” in the centre of the fish. It is a representation of an early tetrapod, such as Ichthyostega, in its natural habitat. In contrast to the biblical account of creation, the picture suggests acceptance of Charles Darwin’s idea of evolutionary development (creationism). Variations include theTruth fish (which consumes the Darwin fish), or a Darwin fish-eating theichthys
  • And theichthys-eating anichthys.

The ichthys-style logo of Cthulhu

  • Cthulhu, the fictitious amoral god monster from H. P. Lovecraft’s 1928 short tale “The Call of Cthulhu,” is represented with an ichthys-style symbol.
  • The “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” the god of a parody religion known as The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its set of beliefs known as “Pastafarianism,” is represented by a stylised emblem.
  • In the Futurama episode “Robotology,” Bender inquires as to whether he may have a rendition of his religion’s ichthys sign placed on the tail end of the Planet Express Ship
  • The answer is yes.


  1. Three of the Earliest Secret Christian SymbolsRetrieved on July 12, 2008
  2. “Evolution of religious bigotry”Retrieved on July 12, 2008
  3. “A Translation of Symbolism Concerning Heaven and Earth”Retrieved on July 12, 2008
  4. “Ask the Editors”Retrieved on July 12, 2008
  5. “Byzant Symbols: The Ichtys”Retrieved on July 12, 2008
  6. “The True Origin of the Atheists in the United States. Origin of the “Christian” Fish Symbol. albatrus.org. Retrieved on July 12, 2008
  7. Origin of the “Christian” Fish Symbol. albatrus.org. Retrieved on July 12, 2008


  • Ferguson, George, and others. Signs and Symbols in Christian Art: With Illustrations from Renaissance Paintings (Signs and Symbols in Christian Art) Inman, Thomas
  • Oxford University Press, 1966
  • ISBN 978-0195014327
  • Inman, Thomas. Symbolism from ancient paganism and modern Christianism Sill, Gertrude Grace
  • Inman Press, 2007.ISBN 978-1406751833
  • Inman Press, 2007. A Handbook of Symbols in Christian Art is a collection of symbols used in Christian art. Alva William Steffler is the author of Touchstone, 1996, ISBN 978-0684826837. Christians use several symbols to represent their faith. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002, ISBN 978-0802846761
  • Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002, ISBN 978-0802846761


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