Friday, 31 May 2019

Why is the fish the symbol of Christianity?


Before I answer this question let me say that I've always wished to swim with dolphins. But I couldn't afford such a holiday so I went swimming with sardines instead.

Now sardines are not as clever as dolphins. Why else would they get into a tin and leave the key on the outside?

Every other canned fish you buy, tuna, salmon, pilchard and so on, you have to open with a can opener. But sardines ... they have a key on the outside. Why?

Unless of course you buy those tins with a ring pull. Again, on the outside ... so the sardines can't pull the ring and get out.

Anchovies thought they'd be clever by being so salty that no one would eat them. They were wrong. They've now become a delicacy much sought after and more fished than before.

And now about the original question ...

The symbol of a fish was found on ancient Christian monuments and buildings. It represents Christ.

The Greek word for "fish" is ICHTHUS.

If we take the letters of that word they provide the first letters of other Greek words.

Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour

So the symbol of the fish suggests all this to a Christian. It may well have been a secret sign used by early Christians to identify each other.

20 comments:

  1. Yes, I've wondered why the fish. Thank you for answering my (unasked) question, Victor.
    Now I'm craving me some sardines.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Mevely. Please feel free to ask me questions and I'll try my best to answer them.

      By the way, one of the fish in my pond was gasping for breath this morning. I tried to give it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and I nearly drowned.

      God bless.

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    2. I had post a few years ago where I was watching a fish for a friend. I did not change the water enough and the fish was not getting oxygen. I blew into the water with a straw and the fish was resuscitated then I put it into fresh water.

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    3. Aha ... maybe that's what I should have done instead of giving it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Now every time I look at it it winks at me amorously.

      God bless.
      you, JoeH.

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  2. I read somewhere that when Christians met in public one person would draw the top part of the fish in the sand and the other person would draw the bottom part. It was like a test to see if they were really who they said they were or if it was a trap. :-/

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    1. Thank you Sandi. That's new to me. You're most probably right because the early Christians were still afraid after Christ rose from the dead and was taken to Heaven.

      God bless you.

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  3. When I was a child, I thought that the 'sign of the fish' was meant to remind us Catholics to 'eat fish on Fridays' ... just kidding.

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    1. I can understand the possible mistake and connection. Great to see you visiting again, Suzanne. Thanx.

      God bless you.

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  4. Thanks so much for enlightening us here, Victor, regarding the symbol of the fish. I'd also read somewhere that when early Christians met another person, they would draw half a fish symbol in the dirt. If the stranger completed the drawing, that confirmed he or she was a Christian and someone "safe" to befriend.
    Glad to be back here after a long week at Mom's!
    Blessings!

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    1. Welcome back, Martha. I hope you and your family are all well.

      I had not known about drawing the fish symbol in the sand; but I can see the story is possibly true.

      God bless you all.

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  5. I know about the symbol and now I know the why too.

    My step-dad and I have shared a pizza or two with anchovies on them. :) He lives in heaven now.

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    1. I must admit, anchovies do taste nice, Happyone. I read about the fish symbol; apparently it originated in Greece I believe.

      God bless you and yours.

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  6. We went to Rome two weeks ago and came away enriched.

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    1. Welcome back, Susan. I hope you enjoyed your holiday.

      God bless.

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  7. Thank you for this post. I've often wondered why the fish, and now I know.

    All the best Jan

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    1. I understand the fish is a very early Christian symbol - possibly originated in Greece. It has nothing to do with Catholics eating fish on Fridays. In fact, there is no compulsion on Catholics to eat fish, or anything else, on Fridays. Originally, the Church suggested that people refrain from eating meat (which was expensive) on Fridays and to give the proceeds to the poor. People were allowed to eat fish instead because it was much cheaper. (Not so these days I'm afraid judging from prices at the shops).

      God bless you and yours, Jan.

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  8. Ah, that's interesting Victor. I always wondered what it meant. Good to know. Stay blessed!

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    1. It is so great to see you visiting here AJGodinho. Thank you. Please call again soon and invite your friends here.

      God bless you.

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God bless you.

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