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IHS Symbol

The IHS symbol is a secret symbol that is rooted in the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. This ancient symbol garners its meaning from a variety of early Christian traditions and is linked to one of the principal figures of the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ.

The Origins of the IHS Symbol

The HIS symbol is representative of the Greek name for Jesus, Iesous. It contains the Greek letters iota, eta and sigma, the first letters of Iesous. In addition, the letters spell out the phrase Ieosus Hominum Salvator, meaning “Jesus Savior of Man”.

Comprised of a monogram, this Christian symbol has been linked by evangelical theorists to Isis, Horus and Seb, and therefore linked to Egyptian sun worship. Other theories link this ancient symbol to ancient Roman ritual ceremonies. Evidence to support this theory lies in the fact that the IHS symbol was linked to the Bacchus, the god of wine in Roman mythology, who early Christians linked to Jesus.

Furthermore, this symbol of the Christian religion is related to Constantine; reportedly, the Roman emperor had a vision of the Chi-Ro symbol, a story recorded by Church Father Eusebius. During this vision, Constantine is said to have heard a voice declare: “In this symbol, thouse shalt conquer”, which is linked to the Greek origins of the symbol. As such, this popular symbol of Christian theology also stands for In Hoc Signo, meaning “In this sign.”

During the fifteenth century, Bernardine of Siena, a Franciscan disciple, popularized the IHS symbol, which was considered to be symbolic of peace.

Today, the symbol represents the communion wafer distributed during the celebration of mass and is often featured on larger wafers used during mass. The IHS symbol is also featured on monstrances that contain communion wafers; these monstrances are usually ornate in nature and in some instances, the IHS monogram features a solar border that is representative of solar elements used in ancient Roman rituals. In addition, the IHS symbol sometimes features three nails, which are representative of Jesus on the cross during the crucifixion.


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