Why early Christians used a fish as their secret symbol

The fish symbol was a secret symbol used by Christians in the first centuries when they were persecuted.

Since it was difficult for travelers to figure out where fellow-Christians lived, the Christians marked their houses with this symbol, since using the cross would have been too obvious to the Romans.

The word ‘Ichtus’ ((Gr. IΧΘΥΣ of ἰχθύς, “fish”) is an acronym. An acronym is an abbreviation, but is pronounced as a real word. The abbreviation INRI (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) is a famous example of an acronym.

In the word IΧΘΥΣ (Ichtus), each letter is the first letter of another word. The acronym IΧΘΥΣ stands for ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Savior’

I               Ἰησοῦς         Jesus

Χ (CH)     Χριστός       Christ

Θ (TH)     Θεοῦ            God

Υ (Y)        Υἱός              Son

Σ (S)        Σωτήρ          Savior

Moreover, fish also has a special meaning for Christians. On the one hand, the apostles were fishermen; on the other hand, it also makes us think of the multiplication of five loaves and two fish in Jn. 6:1-15.

The fish symbol thus became the secret sign of the First Christians. Until today, one can still admire the secret sign in many places in the Roman catacombs.

(Source: Wikipedia, Ichthus)

Semper Excelsius is a website for the defense of the Catholic faith through instruction and informative articles. Its focus is on explaining the rich history and traditions of the holy Roman Catholic Church, while defending her teachings against false assumptions and doctrinal errors.

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