Chrismon

Chrismon

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A chrismon is one of number of Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

s intended to represent aspects of the Person, life or ministry of Jesus Christ and the life, ministry or history of the Church
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 through a single image, emblem or monogram. The term "chrismon" comes from the Latin phrase "Christi Monogramma", meaning "monogram of Christ". By definition, the literal monogram of Christ, which is the Greek letters Χ ("chi") superimposed upon Ρ ("rho"), is the more commonly named Chi Rho
Chi Rho
The Chi Rho is one of the earliest forms of christogram, and is used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters chi and rho of the Greek word "ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ" =Christ in such a way to produce the monogram ☧...

 or labarum
Labarum
The labarum was a vexillum that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" — Chi and Rho . It was used by the Roman emperor Constantine I...

, which is actually the name of an imperial standard, where the chi rho was employed.

Chrismons can be found in all sizes, any sort of construction, and are used in numerous applications. Often, the Ρ is formed to look like a shepherd's crook and the Χ like a cross, symbolizing Jesus Christ as Good Shepherd of his flock, the Church.

Perhaps most commonly, chrismons are used to adorn liturgical devices and Christmas Trees during Advent
Advent
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday, called Levavi...

 and Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, where they are made from various materials ranging from needlepoint
Needlepoint
Needlepoint is a form of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through a stiff open weave canvas. Most needlepoint designs completely cover the canvas...

 to woodwork and metalwork. They can also be found as decorations in and outside of Christian church buildings and homes, and even found on gravestones and personal stationary.

A US trademark is claimed for the term Chrismon, and trademarks are also claimed for some specific examples.

Many of these symbols have histories dating back to the earliest times of the Church.

Other examples of common chrismons


These are just some examples of the scores if not hundreds of common, historical chrismons:
  • Ship on open waters - represents the community of the Church.
  • Anchored Cross
    Anchored Cross
    The Anchored Cross, or Mariner's Cross, is a stylized cross in the shape of an anchor. It is a symbol which is shaped like a plus sign with anchor-like protrusions at the end of each arm, hence the name Anchored Cross...

     - a Christian cross
    Christian cross
    The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity...

     shaped like an anchor
    Anchor
    An anchor is a device, normally made of metal, that is used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ancora, which itself comes from the Greek ἄγκυρα .Anchors can either be temporary or permanent...

    , symbolizing the steadfast faithfulness of God.
  • Pomegranate - the fruit is the Church and the seeds are its members.
  • Seashell - (the water of) Baptism
    Baptism
    In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

    .
  • Trefoil
    Trefoil
    Trefoil is a graphic form composed of the outline of three overlapping rings used in architecture and Christian symbolism...

     or Triquetros - a three-pointed knot symbolic of the Trinity
    Trinity
    The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

    .
  • Star of David
    Star of David
    The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

     - Jesus Christ's Jewish heritage as a descendent of King David.
  • Butterfly - the immortality of the soul.
  • Phoenix
    Phoenix (mythology)
    The phoenix or phenix is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Arabian, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Indian and Phoenicians....

     - rebirth, resurrection and new life.
  • Alpha and Omega
    Alpha and Omega
    The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase "I am the alpha and the omega" , an appellation of Jesus in the Book of Revelation ....

     - These Greek letters, Α and Ω respectively, together are a reference to Jesus Christ's self-description in Revelation
    Revelation
    In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

     22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Though they can be found on a chrismon by themselves, they are often added to the ChiRho monogram.
  • Crown- shows royalty and power of Christ, Christ as the King of Kings.
  • Ichthys
    Ichthys
    Ichthys, from Koine Greek: , is the Greek word for "fish"....

    - also known as the fish symbol, a common symbol of the early Christian church under persecution, used to denote Christ.
  • Triangle- symbolic of the Trinity, like the trefoil.
  • Cornerstone
    Cornerstone
    The cornerstone concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.Over time a cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or...

    - symbolic of Jesus Christ's ministry and life being the foundation of the Church, and the foundation of Christian principles and beliefs.
  • Cross- a generic Christian cross
    Christian cross
    The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity...

    , a common symbol of Jesus' crucifixion
    Crucifixion
    Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

     and of salvation.
  • Dove- a white dove, symbolic of peace
    Prince of Peace
    “Prince of Peace” may refer to:*Prince of Peace *One of the names of a child mentioned in --see Biblical prophecy*Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians considered to be the one referred to in Isaiah 9:6...

     and as referenced in Christ's baptism
    Baptism of Jesus
    The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus Christ's public ministry. This event is recorded in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In John 1:29-33 rather than a direct narrative, the Baptist bears witness to the episode...

    .
  • Pearl- representative of the Bible containing precious "pearls of wisdom
    Wisdom
    Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and...

    ".
  • White rose- representative of the Nativity
    Nativity of Jesus
    The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

     and of Virgin Mary.
  • Five-pointed star
    Five-pointed star
    A five-pointed star is a very common ideogram throughout the world. If the colinear edges are joined together a pentagram is produced, which is the simplest of the unicursal star polygons, and a symbol of mystical and magical significance....

    - the Epiphany of Jesus.

See also

  • Christian art
    Christian art
    Christian art is sacred art produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the principles of Christianity, though other definitions are possible. Most Christian groups use or have used art to some extent, although some have had strong objections to some forms of...

  • Christogram
    Christogram
    A Christogram is a monogram or combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian symbol. Different types of Christograms are associated with the various traditions of Christianity, e.g...

  • Icthys
  • Labarum
    Labarum
    The labarum was a vexillum that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" — Chi and Rho . It was used by the Roman emperor Constantine I...

  • Chi Rho
    Chi Rho
    The Chi Rho is one of the earliest forms of christogram, and is used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters chi and rho of the Greek word "ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ" =Christ in such a way to produce the monogram ☧...

  • Christian symbolism
    Christian symbolism
    Christian symbolism invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas. Christianity has borrowed from the common stock of significant symbols known to most periods and to all regions of the world. Religious symbolism is effective when it appeals to both the intellect and...

  • Christianity
    Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...


External links

  • http://www.ezartsncrafts.com/christiansymbols.html
  • http://www.sundayschoolnetwork.com/chrismon.html
  • http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10488a.htm
  • http://www.crivoice.org/symbols/chrismon.html
  • http://www.chrismon.org/site/chrismon.htm