IHS Monogram

The IHS is a symbolic monogram of Christ used by the Roman Catholic Church. This monogram consists of the Greek letters iota, eta, and sigma, the first three letters of the name Iesous (Greek for Jesus), the letters of which are also used to spell out the Latin phrase “Iesous Hominem Salvator,” “Jesus, savior of man.” It relates to the story of Constantine, whose vision of the Chi-Rho was recorded by Church Father Eusebius. In the vision, Constantine was reported to have heard a voice proclaim, “In this symbol, thou shalt conquer.” Therefore, the IHS has also stood for “In Hoc Signo,” in this sign.

The symbol as it appears at right originated in Rome with the early Christians, and was popularized in the fifteenth century by Franciscan disciple Bernardine of Sienna, who promoted it as a symbol of peace.

Some evangelicals have theorized that the initials stand for “Isis, Horus, and Seb,” and are related to Egyptian sun worship, but this is a spurious claim that has never been supported by any solid evidence. Solar and Lunar symbolism have been in continual use by the Church and are most likely continuances of Roman ceremonial symbolism. There is, however, good evidence that the initials were once used to represent Bacchus, the god of wine, who early Christians identified with Jesus.

The IHS emblem today most commonly represents the communion wafer, and is closely associated with the Jesuit Order. The solar rays often depicted surrounding the emblem represent the monstrance (Ostensorium),* a decorated vessel used to display the Communion Host. The solar symbolism is probably ancient in origin, and probably borrowed from Roman ritual implements.

The three nails pictured on some examples represent the nails of the crucifix.

IHS carving in the Roman catacombs Another style

*A monstrance or ostensorium is any decorative vessel used to display relics or holy objects, but most often refers to those used to display the consecrated Host.

Related Symbols:

Red KingChi-ro

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Religious Symbol Dictionary | symboldictionary.net
October 9, 2009 at 11:24 am
Monstrance (Ostensoria)
March 12, 2013 at 4:02 am

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Scholar June 26, 2014 at 8:40 am

The IHS did not originate in Rome…
IHS stood for “Isis Horus Seb” of ancient kemet (Egypt)

In fact, nothing ever originated in Rome, All of there agriculture down to their attire is plagiarism of other cultures especially Egyptian, Babylonian, and Phonecian culture.

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Jennifer July 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm

While I’ve heard this tidbit repeated very often, I have never seen the slightest evidence that this assertion is true. Further, it makes very little sense, especially as they are not Egyptian characters.

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jeff1 October 13, 2014 at 2:57 am

yeah no connection at all..just a giant obelisk from egypt at the center of the Vatican courtyard…and many other churches

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nathan Fernandes April 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Did early Christians use a round eucharistic host?

A careful comparison of what is taught in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church along with eucharistic practices should make this clear to any truly interested in the truth.

Let’s first start out with two translations of a quote from the Apostle Paul:

1 Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, Douay-Rheims)

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, NKJV)

The Apostle Paul is teaching that Christians are to follow or imitate him as he imitates Christ. Thus, all should be careful in this regard.

Notice what Jesus said:

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)

Article 3, under the Seven Sacraments of the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the eucharist. Section II asks and answers the question, What is this Sacrament Called? Several names are listed, including “The Breaking of Bread” (#1329).

It also states the following:

1339 Jesus choose the time of the Passover…And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them…(Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 373)

Now the above is scriptural. Here are some related scriptures:

19 And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the pasch.

26 And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. (Matthew 26:19,26 Douay-Rheims)

22 And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. (Mark 14:22, Douay-Rheims)

19 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke 22:19, Douay-Rheims)

Notice, it is very clear that Jesus BROKE the bread on Passover (Pasch means Passover).

The Apostle Paul confirmed that it was the practice of the early Christians to break bread:

16 The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? (1 Corinthians 10:16, Douay-Rheims).

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.

24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, Douay-Rheims)

The Apostle Paul followed Jesus’ practice and broke bread. Furthermore, notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches in its article “Host”:

…the first Christians…simply used the bread that served as food. It seems that the form differed but little from what it is in our day. The loaves discovered in an oven of a bakery at Pompeii weighed about a pound each. One of these, being perfectly preserved, measured about seven inches in diameter and was creased with seven ridges which facilitated the breaking of the loaf without the aid of a knife. (Leclercq, Henri. “Host.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Feb. 2011 )

Notice the article basically says that the practice of the first Christians, which is consistent with the Bible, was to use normal loaves of bread that resemble what is still in use today. And that it was broken. (The article never says where the round host actually came from, other than it was first mentioned in writing in the fourth century by Epiphanius and that earlier paintings in catacombs and bas-reliefs showed something like that. But I should state that the oldest early painting in a catacomb I am aware of has a woman, Priscilla, presiding over the ceremony, so the Church of Rome may wish to be careful about relying on that as they do not allow women to do that. Hence, the earliest picture of the eucharist host did not come from what is practiced in today’s Roman Catholicism–so the question from whence the Catholics adopted it remains.)

Thus, to have a Passover/eucharistic ceremony where they bread is not broken is certainly not imitating Jesus, the Apostle Paul, nor the early Christians. It is a change that the Church of Rome must have gotten outside of the Bible.

Yet, in the eucharistic ceremonies in the Catholic Church, the bread is not broken. Instead, it is a round host that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says can/should be worshipped and adored (CCC #1378, p. 385). Yet, there is no indication that the early Christians or the apostles did anything like that.

They basically taught that it was to be eaten.

Worshipers of sun-gods worshiped round symbols. Early Christians did not.

As far as the word “host”, The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

The bread destined to receive Eucharistic Consecration is commonly called the host , and though this term may likewise be applied to the bread and wine of the Sacrifice , it is more especially reserved to the bread.

According to Ovid the word comes from hostis, enemy: “Hostibus a domitis hostia nomen habet”, because the ancients offered their vanquished enemies as victims to the gods. However, it is possible that hostia is derived from hostire, to strike, as found in Pacuvius. (Leclercq, Henri. “Host.”)

The word “host” (or derivatives) do not appear to be a direct translation of any of the original Hebrew or Greek that the Bible was actually written in. Hence, it does not seem to be a biblical term, but instead may have pagan ties according to certain Catholic researchers. Does anyone really think that Jesus wanted to be considered the “host” of pagan militaristic rituals?

Since it did not come from the Bible, the Eucharistic Host is not holy.

Perhaps it should also be mentioned that some Roman Catholic priests, like Nicholas Gruner and Paul Kramer have raised concerns about eucharistic ceremonies in languages other than Latin. Notice the following:

Latin Mass…The truth is — in English, Italian, and Spanish, among others — the vernacular translations of the consecration of the wine makes it of doubtful validity…as has been demonstrated by Father Paul Kramer in his book The Suicide of Altering the Faith in Liturgy (Gruner N. Is Antichrist Coming Next? The Fatima Crusader, 96, Autumn 2010, p. 10).

Now, in case everyone is unaware of this, it should be pointed out that the original apostles spoke Greek (cf. Acts 21:37-39) and other languages, but there is no indication that any of them used Latin in any early Christian ceremony (and even if they did, it certainly was not a widespread, or universal, practice). Even Tertullian, the so-called “father of Latin theology” did not begin to write until around 190 A.D. Latin mass is a CHANGE. Those who are true traditionalists would realize that the original and early Passover services were not done in Latin and there is no valid reason to insist on Latin today. Those who insist on Latin and those who use a round host are absolutely altering the liturgy of the faith of the original Christians.

Cannot those who claim to be Catholic traditionalists see this?

Similarities Between Egyptian and Roman Eucharistic Practices
It has been reported that there were many similarities between ancient pagan Egyptian practices and the Roman eucharist:

The Egyptians celebrated ten great mysteries on ten different nights of the year. The first was the night of the evening meal (literally the last supper), and the laying of offerings on the altar…

The altar or communion-table thus provisioned was the coffin lid. This also was continued in the ritual of Rome, for it is a fact that the earliest Christian altar was a coffin. According to Blunt’s Dictionary of Doctrinal and Historical Theology (p. 16), this was a hollow chest, on the lid or mensa of which the eucharist was celebrated. This, as Egyptian, was the coffin of Osiris that constituted the altar on which the provisions were laid in Sekhem for the eucharistic meal. Hence the resurrection is described as “dawn upon the coffin of Osiris.” Therefore he rose in spirit from the mummy in the coffin, beneath the lid which constituted the table. This was the body supposed to be eaten as the eucharist, which was represented by the provisions that were laid upon the altar for the sacramental meal…The first of the Osirian mysteries is the primary Christian sacrament. “Provisioning the altar ” was continued by the Church of Rome. “The mysteries laid upon the altar” which preceded ” the communion of the body and blood of Christ ” were then eaten in the eucharistic meal (Neale, Rev. J. M., The Liturgies, Introd., p. 33). Thus we see in the camera obscura that the provisions laid on the altar or table represented the flesh and blood of the victim about to be eaten sacramentally. The night of the things that were laid upon the altar is the night of the great sacrifice, with Osiris as the victim. The things laid on the altar for the evening meal represented the body and blood of the Lord. These, as the bread and wine, or flesh and beer, were transelementecl or transubstantiated by the descent of Ra the holy spirit, which quickened and transformed the mummy Osiris into the risen sahu, the unleavened bread into the leavened, the water into wine. Osiris, the sacrifice, was the giver of himself as “the food which never perishes” (Rit, ch. 89).

The Christian liturgies are reckoned to be the “most pure sources of eucharistical doctrine.” And liturgy appears to have been the groundwork of the Egyptian ritual. It is said by one of the priests (Rit., ch. i), “I am he who reciteth the liturgies of the soul who is lord of Tattu “—that is, of Osiris who establishes a soul for ever in conjunction with Ra the holy spirit in the mysteries of Amenta. In one character Osiris was eaten as the Bull of Eternity, who gave his flesh and blood as sustenance for humanity, and who was the divine providence as the provider of food. (Massey G. Ancient Egypt, the light of the world: a work of reclamation and restitution in twelve books, Volume 1. T. F. Unwin, 1907. Original from Princeton University, Digitized Mar 19, 2008, pp. 220-221)

A more recent author reported, somewhat “tongue-in-cheek”:

Of course, average Catholics have no idea their beloved Eucharist is nothing more than an updated version of an ancient Babylonian occult practice. When this religion spread to Egypt, the Egyptians worshipped the sun god, Osiris, and the priests claimed “to have magical powers which enabled [the priests] to change the great Sun God, Osiris, into a wafer.” Because the Eucharist is based upon the ancient worship of the sun, the host is made into the shape of a circle—the shape of the sun…Alberto warns that Catholics are also unaware that the initials on their hosts, IHS, really stand for the Egyptian gods Isis, Hoeb, and Seb. This was the origin of the Catholic practice of the Eucharist, the central act of worship in Roman Catholicism. ..

As this religious system was forming, many Christians realized the real occult nature of the Catholic Church and rejected it. They fled into the hills and took the true copies of the Scriptures with them. When they were caught, they were given the choice to convert or be killed. This is the origin of such groups as the Waldneses and Anabaptists. (Gonzalez D. Steps of Grace. Dog Ear Publishing, 2010, p. 39)

Now, some of the above seems to be his former belief and speculative (and understand that not all who were called Waldneses or Anabaptists were true Christians). Yet it is clear that the round host most certainly did not come from the Bible nor the earliest faithful Christians.

Some may argue that it matters not what ancient pagans did to worship their gods. But notice what the Bible teaches:

2 Destroy all the places in which the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods upon high mountains, and hills, and under every shady tree: 3 Overthrow their altars, and break down their statues, burn their groves with fire, and break their idols in pieces: destroy their names out of those places. 4 You shall not do so to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, Douay-Rheims)

29 When the Lord thy God shall have destroyed before thy face the nations, which then shalt go in to possess, and when thou shalt possess them, and dwell in their land: 30 Beware lest thou imitate them, after they are destroyed at thy coming in, and lest thou seek after their ceremonies, saying: As these nations have worshipped their gods, so will I also worship. 31 Thou shalt not do in like manner to the Lord thy God. For they have done to their gods all the abominations which the Lord abhorreth (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, Douay-Rheims).

So, God does not want altars like the pagans had to be used to worship Him. Nor does He want their practices continued.

And while some have argued that God allowed the pagans to have practices that they did so that they could later accept Christ, the reality is that the early Christians did not have a round eucharistic host that was consecrated over an altar. There is no justification in scripture nor in the earliest traditions of the Christian church for getting away from the practices of Jesus and Paul in this area.

As far as origin of the initials IHS, The Catholic Encyclopedia offers an alternative explanation:

IHS
A monogram of the name of Jesus Christ. From the third century the names of our Saviour are sometimes shortened, particularly in Christian inscriptions (IH and XP, for Jesus and Christus). In the next century the “sigla” (chi-rho) occurs not only as an abbreviation but also as a symbol . From the beginning, however, in Christian inscriptions the nomina sacra, or names of Jesus Christ, were shortened by contraction, thus IC and XC or IHS and XPS for Iesous Christos. These Greek monograms continued to be used in Latin during the Middle Ages. Eventually the right meaning was lost, and erroneous interpretation of IHS led to the faulty orthography “Jhesus”… Towards the close of the Middle Ages IHS became a symbol , quite like the chi-rho in the Constantinian period. (Maere, René. “IHS.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Feb. 2011 )

The familiar monogram I H S was first popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena in the early fifteenth century (Hassett, Maurice. “Monogram of Christ.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 28 Feb. 2011 ).

Notice the following from another Catholic author (bolding mine):

SAINT BERNADINE OF SIENA 1380-1444…He is especially remembered for his zeal…and he popularized, with the help of St. John Capistrano, a symbol representing the Holy Name. The Gothic letters for the name of Jesus, “IHS,” were set in a blazing sun to whose tongues of fire and spreading rays he attributed mystical significance. For a time the Saint was denounced as a heretic and the symbol regarded as idolatrous…(Cruz JC. The Incorruptibles. Nihil Obstat Henry C. Bezon, November 11, 1974. Imprimatur +Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, November 19, 1974. TAN Books 1977, p. 127)

IHS…{an} innovation over five hundred years ago. (Cruz, p. 127)

Notice that the IHS and the use of the sun as a symbols were innovations and that the promoter was properly condemned as a heretic when he initially promoted them. Innovations like that were NOT part of the earliest tradition of the Christian church and have pagan elements.

So, the Catholics are not truly clear where IHS came from, they suggest that IHS appeared in Catholicism no early than the fourth century, and that for centuries their church did not know the meaning of the abbreviation, it did not become popular until much later, and the one who popularized was denounced as a heretic promoting idolatry. This, of course, is not proof that IHS did or did not come from Egypt. Yet, the lack of knowing where IHS came from supports the possibility that it likely came from outside of Christianity

Reply

JZ August 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

Great article.

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Roderick Sajeel Ilyas August 20, 2010 at 2:33 am

IHS is very imprtant to know for all Christains in the World specialy those who have no education but thay are Christan. Me i am also have no information about IHS befor, though it writen on many Churchs and Holy Bread.

But now i know. Thanks you all for this
JESUS HUMAN SALVATOR

Yours in Christ
Roderick Sajeel Ilyas
4,R.A.Bazar Church Road Sialkot Cantt. PAKISTAN 51300

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Jennifer July 6, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Actually, it is more correct to say “man,” although in this case it refers to mankind, which is more universally inclusive.

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Jose Luiz July 6, 2010 at 11:40 pm

So enlightening this article.
If I may, the correct translation of ‘Iesus Hominum Salvator’ is ‘Jesus, savior of men’.

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