is one of number of Christian symbols
intended to represent aspects of the Person, life or ministry of Jesus Christ
and the life, ministry or history of the Christian Church
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 is the more commonly named labarum
or "Chi Rho", which is the Greek letters
Χ ("chi") superimposed upon Ρ ("rho"). 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 Christian Church.
Chrismons can be found in all sizes, any sort of construction, and are used in numerous applications. Perhaps most commonly, chrismons are used to adorn liturgical devices and Christmas Trees during Advent and Christmas, where they are made from various materials ranging from needlepoint 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 Christian Church
- Anchored Cross - a Christian cross shaped like an anchor, symbolizing the steadfast faithfulness of God
- Pomegranate - the fruit is the Church and the seeds are its members
- Seashell - (the water of) Baptism
- Trefoil or Triquetros - a three-pointed knot symbolic of the Trinity
- Star of David - Christ Jesus' heritage as a descendent of King David
- Butterfly - the immortality of the soul
- Phoenix - rebirth, resurrection and new life
- Crown - Christ the King
- Alpha and Omega - These Greek letters, Α and Ω respectively, together are a reference to Jesus Christ's self-description in Revelation 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.
- Kings Crown- shows royalty and power