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Letters, Words & Phrases

Chapter 10

A monogram is one or more letters put together to form a symbol. Monograms date back to the first century and are among Christianity’s oldest symbols. Today, monograms are frequently seen decorating churches, liturgical clothing and tombstones.

Monograms that are connected to Jesus Christ (Chi Rho, etc.) are called chrismons. The term chrismon comes from two Latin words Christi Monogramma which mean “monogram of Christ.” Chrismon trees, a tradition started in American churches in the mid-1900’s, is one way in which chrismons can be displayed in a church.

In this chapter you will find various monograms, as well as letters and even entire Latin phrases that you might find in your church.

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM – A Latin phrase meaning
“to the greater glory of God.”

ADONAI – Hebrew for “Lord.” Whenever a Rabbi comes to the sacred name of God, YHWH, when reading Scripture aloud he will substitute the word Adonai in it’s place.


AGNUS DEI – Latin for “Lamb of God.”

1. This monogram is based on Revelation 1:8 where Jesus declares that He is the “first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Jesus was making the claim that He existed before anything was created, and thus took part in its creation. His statement also means He will continue to exist after this world comes to an end. This symbol was very important in the early church as it was used to make
a statement against the heresy called Arianism. Arianism was a cult that sprang from Christianity in the
early days of the church. Arianism taught that Jesus sprang from God the Father, suggesting that Jesus was not present in the beginning with the Father; this implied that Jesus was not equal with the Father.
The symbol was formed by combining the first letter of
the Greek alphabet (Alpha) and the last letter (Omega). When displayed, the Alpha & Omega are usually paired together, although on rare occasions they are shown individually. It is not uncommon to show them together with an image of Jesus. 2. A variation of the Alpha & Omega has been found that contains the Greek letter “Mu” which is found in the middle of the Greek alphabet. When included in the symbol, it is located between the Alpha and Omega. This symbolizes that Jesus was and will be involved with the beginning, continuation and the end of all things. (Images on next page >> )

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© 2016 By Doug Gray. All Rights Reserved.