The Sign of the Fish
On Easter Day, in the creative spot, I made reference to the origin and meaning of the fish symbol in Christianity. Afterwards someone mentioned that they had never heard what it meant, so if there are others who have not heard about the meaning I offer a brief explanation.
The symbol of the fish, without the writing in it, is a long held symbol of the Christian faith. It comes from the Greek word for fish, transliterated into English as ichthus. Ichthus is an acrostic where the letters stand for other words.
Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (????), Greek for “God’s”
Upsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)yios (????), Greek for “Son”.
Taken together the word ichthus stands for “Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour”.
The symbol first appeared in the second century and its use became widespread through the third and fourth centuries. It is, of course, connected to the many stories involving fish in the Gospels, including the scene following Christ’s resurrection when Jesus cooked fish to feed the disciples.
It is said that the sign itself became a sort of secret code whereby Christians could identify one another at a time when Christians were persecuted. If two people met on the road, for example, one would draw one arch of the symbol and if the other completed it with the second arch, you knew you were in the company of a companion disciple.