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WHAT EACH RITE / RITUAL / SYMBOL MEANS

SYMBOLS AND MEANINGS

Ancient Christians had a deep appreciation for the power of a symbol. So many meanings can be packed into a single, simple mark or object. lampstands => Light of the world, Showbread => Bread of life… the articles of the old Temple pointed to Jesus, the Son of God. So why have Christians been using pelicans so often in their art? It all goes back to a medieval misunderstanding. In Europe and Asia, there was a widespread belief that pelican mothers had a unique relationship to their young. In one version, pelicans would could kill their young and then bring them back to life with their blood. In the more widespread version, pelicans were so devoted to caring for their young that, if there was no food, they would peck at their own breast and feed their blood to their children. This idea was spread in folktales and even in medieval bestiaries (books about animals). This supposed feature of pelican life – called a “pelican in her piety” – was seen as a perfect symbol of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the Eucharist: just as the pelican would give its blood to save its children, so Christ poured out his blood on the cross to save us from our sins, and offers his blood to us in the Eucharist as spiritual drink.

Christian Cross

Meaning of Christian Cross

“The Latin cross is the most familiar and widely recognized symbol of Christianity today. In all likelihood, it was the shape of the structure upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. Though various forms of the cross existed, the Latin cross was made of two pieces of wood crossed to create four right angles. The cross today represents Christ’s victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of his own body on the cross.

Roman Catholic depictions of the cross often reveal the body of Christ still on the cross. This form is known as the crucifix and brings emphasis to the sacrifice and suffering of Christ. Protestant churches tend to portray the empty cross, emphasizing the resurrected, risen Christ.”

Trinity (Borromean Rings)

Meaning of Trinity (Borromean Rings)

“There are many symbols of the Trinity in Christianity. The Borromean Rings are three interlocking circles that signify the divine trinity.

The word “”trinity”” comes from the Latin noun “”trinitas”” meaning “”three are one.”” The trinity represents the belief that God is one Being made up of three distinct Persons who exist in co-equal, co-eternal communion as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The following verses express the concept of the Trinity: Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; John 14:16-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Acts 2:32-33; John 10:30; John 17:11&21.”

Trinity (Triquetra)

Meaning of Trinity (Triquetra)

The Triquetra is a three-part interlocking fish symbol that symbolizes the Christian trinity

Holy Bible

Meaning of Holy Bible

“The Holy Bible is the Word of God. It is the Christian’s handbook for life.

God’s message to mankind — on the Kingdom of God — is contained in the pages of the Bible.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV). I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. ​(​Matthew 5:18, NLT)”

Ten Commandments

Meaning of Ten Commandments

“The Ten Commandments or the Tablets of the Law are the laws that God gave to the people of Israel through Moses after leading them out of Egypt. In essence, they are a summary of the hundreds of laws found in the Old Testament Law. They offer basic rules of behavior for spiritual and moral living. The story of the Ten Commandments is recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.”

Pelican

Meaning of Pelican

“Why have Christians been using pelicans so often in their art? It all goes back to a medieval misunderstanding.

In Europe and Asia, there was a widespread belief that pelican mothers had a unique relationship to their young. In one version, pelicans would could kill their young and then bring them back to life with their blood. In the more widespread version, pelicans were so devoted to caring for their young that, if there was no food, they would peck at their own breast and feed their blood to their children.

This idea was spread in folktales and even in medieval bestiaries (books about animals). This supposed feature of pelican life – called a “pelican in her piety” – was seen as a perfect symbol of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the Eucharist: just as the pelican would give its blood to save its children, so Christ poured out his blood on the cross to save us from our sins, and offers his blood to us in the Eucharist as spiritual drink.”

Staurogram / Tau-Rho

Meaning of Staurogram / Tau-Rho

“The Staurogram, or Tau-Rho, is a Greek tau (T) combined with a Greek rho (P), and was used in the early church as an abbreviation for the Greek word for cross.

The letters also sometimes had a deeper meaning. The tau could symbolize the cross on its own. The rho had the numerical value of 100, which itself could either be a reference to the Greek word for help (which also had the numerical value of 100), or as a reference to Abraham (himself taken as a symbol of the Messiah) because Abraham procreated Isaac when he was 100 years old.”

Peacock

Meaning of Peacock

The Ancient Greeks believed that the flesh of peacocks didn’t decompose after death, and so peacocks became a symbol of immortality. Early Christians adopted the symbol to represent their belief in eternal life in heaven with God, and was often depicted with the Tree of Life.

Ichthys

Meaning of Ichthys

Ichthys is the Greek word for fish, and it was one of the most important early Christian symbols. Not only did fish feature in several miracles of Jesus in the Gospels, but the ichthys was taken as an acrostic for the Greek phrase “Iēsous Christos Theou Hyios Sōtēr,” which means “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

Remarks

“The ichthys symbol became of great in importance and started to appear in Christian art during the late 2nd century, and its use spread widely in the 3rd and 4th centuries.

The fish appears in many Biblical stories, for example, the fish that swallowed Jonah is believed to symbolize Christ’s incarceration in the tomb. The story of Tobias, who survives an attack by a large fish and then uses the gall of the fish to restore his blind father’s sight, symbolizes God’s blessings.

In a miracle, traditionally known as the ‘Miraculous Draught of Fish’, the symbol is representation of abundance and wisdom. Luke’s account of Christ’s miracle predicts Peter’s later and important role as a ‘fisher of men’.”

Alpha and Omega

Meaning of Alpha and Omega

In the book of Revelation, Jesus says of himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev 22.13) Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last one. Putting the two together, they represent the eternity of Christ as the Son of God.

Chi-Rho

Meaning of Chi-Rho

The Chi-Rho is a combination of the Greek letter chi (X) and rho (P), which are the first two letters of the Greek word for “Christ,” and so when put together represent “Jesus.”

IH Monogram

Meaning of IH Monogram

The IH Monogram consists of the Greek letters iota (I) and eta (H), which are the first two letters of the word “Jesus” in Greek, and as such was a common shorthand for “Jesus.”

IX Monogram

Meaning of IX Monogram

The IX Monogram consists of the Greek letters iota (I) and chi (X). Iota is the first letter of the Greek word for “Jesus,” and chi is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ.” Put together, they function as a shorthand for “Jesus Christ.”

Star Of Bethlehem – Star Of The Birth Of Christ

Meaning of Star Of Bethlehem – Star Of The Birth Of Christ

“The five-pointed (or four-pointed) star (also known as the Epiphany Star or (Christian Star) represents Jesus’ birth and incarnation. It is one of the most powerful symbols of Christianity. On Christmas Eve, the Star, shining brightly in the heavens, guided the wise men to the lowly manger where the Christ child was born.

Matt. 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi (n) from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ” “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” “Many Christians believe the star was a miraculous sign and some theologians claimed that the star fulfilled a prophecy.”

Remarks

In the book of Revelation, Jesus is called the Morning Star (Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16).

Star of David

Meaning of Star of David

“The Star of David is a six-pointed star formed by two interlocking triangles, one pointing up, one pointing down. It is named after King David and appears on the flag of Israel. While predominately recognized as a symbol of Judaism and Israel, many Christians identify with the Star of David as well.”

Lily Flower

Meaning of Lily Flower

“To Christians the lily flower was a symbol of the Holy Trinity as well as an emblem of the Virgin Mary. The Roman Catholic Church adopted the Fleur-de-lis symbol to represent Virgin Mary. When Pope Leo III in 800 crowned Charlemagne as emperor, he is reported to have presented him with a blue banner covered (semé) with golden fleurs-de-lis.

In early Christian depictions, the innocent lily was sometimes used to represent a baby Jesus Christ, but later in the thirteenth century scriptures and religious texts the flower represents purity, innocence and an important botanical symbol of Mary. The flower regularly appears in Annunciation arrangements (in a vase, stained-glass windows depicting the Virgin Mary, or in the hand of the angel Gabriel (it is his attribute).”

Christian Dove

Meaning of Christian Dove

“The dove represents the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost in Christianity. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove when he was baptized in the Jordan River and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “”You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” ​​(Luke 3:22, NIV)

The dove is also a symbol of peace. In Genesis 8 after the flood, a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch in its beak, revealing the end of God’s judgment and the beginning of a new covenant with man.”

Crown of Thorns

Meaning of Crown of Thorns

“One of the most vivid symbols of Christianity is the crown of thorns, which Jesus wore before his crucifixion and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “”Hail, king of the Jews!”” they said. ​​(Matthew 27:29, ​NIV)

In the Bible thorns often represent sin, and therefore, the crown of thorns is fitting — that Jesus would bear the sins of the world. But a crown is also fitting because it represents the suffering King of Christianity — Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

Rose

Meaning of Rose

“The rose has been a common Christian symbol since the 1200s. It represents a symbol of the rosary.

The rose is related to Jesus Christ’s life and is also linked with the veneration of Jesus Christ’s mother, Mary. The rose’s five petals symbolize all five of Christ’s wounds from the crucifixion. The red rose means martyrdom and Jesus’ sacrificial blood while a white rose is associated with the Virgin Mary and means purity. The flower also represent the ‘Messianic promise’ (multiple predictions in the Old Testament regarding the coming of Messiah), the nativity of Jesus Christ.

In Medieval times, among the many titles given to the Virgin Mary, there is “”Santa Maria della Rosa””. The rose, often seen with in her hand, has been consecrated to her. Dante wrote: “Here is the Rose, Wherein the Word Divine was made incarnate.””

Rosary

Meaning of Rosary

“The Christian Rosary (in Latin: ‘a garland of roses’) presents the devotee with a structure for prayer. The name of this Christian object is related to the Virgin Mary and her purity. The Rosary helps to count the number of read “Ave Maria”.

The Rosary is a remedy against severe trials, diverse temptations and the sufferings of life, and the Rosary is one of the great weapons given to believers in their battle against every evil that surrounds us.

Saints and popes have always emphasized that the Rosary is crucial for meditation and taught how the rosary should be prayed, especially regarding respect, reverence and purity of intention during Rosary recitations.

Praying the Rosary is considered as a sort of penance after confession. Penance is usually generally intended as encourage to meditation and spiritual growth and NOT a “punishment”” due to the sins committed in the past.”

The Good Shepherd

Meaning of The Good Shepherd

“The Christian Rosary (in Latin: ‘a garland of roses’) presents the devotee with a structure for prayer. The name of this Christian object is related to the Virgin Mary and her purity. The Rosary helps to count the number of read “Ave Maria”.

The Rosary is a remedy against severe trials, diverse temptations and the sufferings of life, and the Rosary is one of the great weapons given to believers in their battle against every evil that surrounds us.

Saints and popes have always emphasized that the Rosary is crucial for meditation and taught how the rosary should be prayed, especially regarding respect, reverence and purity of intention during Rosary recitations.

Praying the Rosary is considered as a sort of penance after confession. Penance is usually generally intended as encourage to meditation and spiritual growth and NOT a “punishment”” due to the sins committed in the past.”

Rainbow

Meaning of Rainbow

“The Christian rainbow is a symbol of God’s faithfulness and his promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. This promise comes from the story of Noah and the Flood.

After the flood, God placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of his covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth and all living creatures by flood.

By arching high over the horizon, the rainbow shows the all-embracing expanse of God’s faithfulness through his work of grace. God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ isn’t only for a select few souls to enjoy.”

Remarks

“Writers of the Bible used rainbows to describe the glory of God: Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:28, ESV).

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw a rainbow around the throne of God in heaven: At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. (Revelation 4:2-3, NIV)”

Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)

Meaning of Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)

The Lamb of God represents Jesus Christ, the perfect, sinless sacrifice offered by God to atone for the sins of man.

Remarks

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter…(Isaiah 53:7, ​NIV)

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “”Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”” ​(John 1:29, NIV). And they cried out in a loud voice: “”Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”” (Revelation 7:10, NIV)”

Cross and Crown

Meaning of Cross and Crown

“The Cross and Crown is a familiar symbol in Christian churches. It represents the reward awaiting in heaven (the crown) that believers will receive after the suffering and trials of life on earth (the cross).

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ​(James 1:12, NIV)”

Monogram of Jesus (Ihs)

Meaning of Monogram of Jesus (Ihs)

“Ihs is an ancient monogram (or letter symbol) for Jesus that dates back to the first century. rom Greek it is an abbreviation of the name IHΣΟΥΣ (Jesus). Scribes wrote a line or a bar over the letters to indicate an abbreviation.

In Eastern Orthodox Church the Christogram is composed with letters X and P and I and X arranged into the cross. They are the first letters of one from two words in Greek language: Christ and Jesus Christ.

In the Western culture there exist the compositions: “”IHS”” and also “”IHC”” being the first letters (iota-eta-sigma) of the name Jesus in Greek alphabet: ΙΗΣΟΥΣ (Ίησοῦς or ΙΗϹΟΥϹ with lunated sigma).”

Remarks

According to a legend, this inscription with the cross was seen by emperor Constantine the Great in his sleep before the battle against Maxentius in 312 on the Ponte Milvio.

Phiro

Meaning of Phiro

Phiro is a small black cap which the priest must wear during all public prayers. It consists of seven sections which indicate the full priesthood of the celebrant. Bishops including the Patriarch wear it under the Eskimo.

Msone

Meaning of Msone

The priest also puts on msone, ceremonial shoes which are worn during the celebration of the holy qurbono. Since animal products are prohibited on the sanctuary, the shoes are not made of leather. Upon wearing the left shoe, the priest recites, may my feet, o lord god, be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace so that i may tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy, for ever. Upon wearing the right shoe, he recites, cast down under my foot, lord god, all false pride that is exalted against thy knowledge, and grant that by thy help i may bring the lusts of the flesh into subjection, for ever.

Kutino

Meaning of Kutino

He then puts on the kutino ‘alb’, a white surplice whose color is an indication of the priest’s purity. The priest signs the cross over it three times saying, clothe me, o lord, with the robe of incorruption through the strength of thy holy spirit, and make me worthy to keep the true faith and walk in the paths of purity and righteousness all the days of my life.

Hamnikho

Meaning of Hamnikho

Then he puts on the Hamnikho ‘necklace,’ the stole which symbolizes the priest being armed with the fear of the lord. He signs the cross over it twice, reciting psalm 18:39, 40: gird me with strength unto the battle and subdue under me them that rise up against me, defeat my enemies and silence those who hate me.

Zenoro

Meaning of Zenoro

Then he puts on the zenoro ‘girdle’ which speaks of the priest’s control over all bodily desires. He signs the cross over it once reciting psalm 45:3: gird thy sword upon thy thigh, o thou most mighty with thy splendor and glory. Thy glory triumphs.

Zende

Meaning of Zende

He then arms himself with the zende ‘sleeves’ which symbolize the priest’s readiness to keep god’s law and do works of righteousness. He signs the cross twice over the left sleeve and recites psalm 18:34 while wearing it: he trains my hands to war; and he strengthens my arms like a bow of brass. He then signs the cross once over the right sleeve and recites psalm 18:35 while wearing it: let thy right hand help me up, and let thy loving discipline raise me.

Prelate

Meaning of Prelate

If the celebrant is a prelate, he puts on the masnaphto ‘turban’, a head-cover which symbolizes the cloth with which the lord’s head was bound for his burial. He makes the sign of the cross twice on it and wears it reciting psalm 4:6-7: who can show me he who is good? May the light of thy countenance shine upon us, o lord, thou hast given gladness to my heart.

Phayno

Meaning of Phayno

The priest then puts on the phayno, a cope which symbolizes aaron’s robe of many colors and the savior’s seamless robe. He signs the cross over it thrice reciting psalm 132:9-10: let thy priests be clothed with righteousness and thy righteous with glory. For thy servant david’s sake, turn not away the face of thine anointed. Then he puts it on reciting psalm 132:9: clothe thy priests with salvation and thy saints with glory.

Pallium

Meaning of Pallium

If the celebrant is a prelate, he puts on the batrashil `pallium’ which is similar to the hamnikho but extends both front and back. It reminds the prelate of the cross which the savior carried. He crosses it once reciting psalm 27:5: in the day of trouble, he protects me in the shadow of his tabernacle. He exalts me upon a rock; and now he shall lift up my head above mine enemies.

Sakro

Meaning of Sakro

The patriarch wears the sakro `shield’ attached to the zenoro on the right side. The shield of faith symbolizes his authority and his position as the protector of the faith (ephesians 6:16 “.. Above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one).

Cross And An Icon

Meaning of Cross And An Icon

Prelates also wear a cross and an icon, usually of the mother of god, around the neck. While wearing the cross he recites psalm 34:5: turn your eyes to him and hope in him and you shall not be disappointed.

Mooroneetho

Meaning of Mooroneetho

Then the prelate takes the crosier (mooroneetho) in his left hand, which symbolizes the bishop’s authority and reminds us of the shepherd’s staff, reciting psalm 110:2: the lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of zion: thou shalt rule in the midst of thine enemies. He also takes a hand cross in his right hand, from which a cloth called mqablonitho ‘veil’ is hung reciting psalm 44:5: for thy cause we shall combat our enemies and for the cause of thy name we shall trample those who hate us. Upon completing this, the celebrant washes his hands.

Deacons

Meaning of Deacons

Deacons wear a white kutino and an uroro ‘stole’ in various shapes according to their rank. Singers (mzamrono) wear the kutino without the uroro. Readers (qoruyo) wear the uroro in the form of a cross. Subdeacons (apodyaqno) wear the uroro folded around the neck. Deacons (shamosho) wear the uroro over the left shoulder, on either side like wings. Archdeacons (archedyaqno) wear the uroro round the neck. They also wear a zenoro and zende similar to priests.