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Christian Fish or Ichthys

Christian Symbols Illustrated Glossary

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The Christian Fish, also called the Jesus Fish or Ichthys, was a secret symbol of early Christianity.
Christian Fish or Ichthys

Christian Fish or Ichthys

Images © Sue Chastain
The Ichthys or fish symbol was used by early Christians to identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ and to express their affinity to Christianity. Ichthys is the Ancient Greek word for "fish." The "Christian fish," or "Jesus fish" symbol consists of two intersecting arcs tracing the outline of a fish (most commonly with the fish "swimming" to the left). It is said to have been used by early persecuted Christians as a secret symbol of identification. The Greek word for fish (Ichthus) also forms the acronym "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior."

Followers of Christianity identify with the fish as a symbol because fish frequently appeared in the ministry of Christ. They were a staple in the biblical times diet and fish were often mentioned in the Gospels. For example, Christ multiplied the two fish and five loaves of bread in Matthew 14:17. Jesus said in Mark 1:17, "Come, follow me ... and I will make you fishers of men." (NIV)

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