Chi Rho Symbol

Chi Rho Symbol – History And Meaning

Chi Rho, pronounced as “KEE-roe,” is an old Christian symbol—a Christian monogram or Christogram formed by combining the first two letters of the Greek word Christos, which means “Christ.” 

The Chi Rho symbol was employed by early Christians to symbolize both Jesus Christ and Christianity. It is attributed to Constantine I, the Roman Emperor who used it as a military symbol. 

This symbol exists today in numerous variations. It has also lead to the modern practice of using the letter X in “Xmas,” the abbreviation for “Christmas.”

Chi Rho Symbol – History And Meaning

If you want to learn more about the Chi Rho symbol, read on to find out the meaning, history, and significance of this Christian symbol.

Chi Rho Symbol History

Chi Rho Symbol

The early Christians used the Chi Rho symbol to acknowledge Christ and Christianity. However, its popularity soared significantly during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century AD, when he used the Christogram as a vexillum or military standard.

History says that the Chi Rho symbol manifested itself to Constantine in a vision before he fought the Battle of the Milivian Bridge outside Rome in 312 AD. The emperor then had the symbol engraved on the shields of his soldiers. After winning the battle, Constantine legalized the religion of Christianity across his empire. He had prominently used the Chi Rho symbol since. 

The Chi Rho had also been used by later Christian emperors as a vexillum they called the Labarum. This symbol appeared on the coins of Constantine and his successors.

But even before Constantine and the early Christians, the Chi Rho symbol is believed to have been worshipped by pagans in ancient Greece. They did so in their belief that the symbol bestowed good fortune. Pagan Greek scribes marked passages deemed relevant with the Chi Rho sign, signifying “Chreston,” which translates to “good.” 

The symbol was also featured on the coins of Ptolemy III around 246 to 222 BCE.

The Chi Rho Symbol

Chi Rho Symbol

The Chi Rho symbol looks like it has been formed using the letters X and P from the English alphabet, but they are actually Greek. The letters chi and rho look pretty similar to the English X and P. They are the two initial letters of the Greek name for “Christ.” 

In Christian art, the Chi Rho is often depicted flanked by the Greek letters alpha and omega, symbolizing Jesus Christ as the Alpha and Omega—the Beginning and the End. The Chi Rho symbol is not mentioned in the Holy Bible, however, even though these letters are used to form the name “Christ” in Greek.

For centuries, Christians have used the Chi Rho symbol to represent Christ and Christianity. However, this Christogram has also been used as a good-luck charm, as well as a talisman for warding off evil. 

Chi Rho Symbol Meaning

Chi Rho Symbol

The Chi Rho is a monogram of Christ, sometimes referred to as the Christogram, Chrismon, or Labarum.

The Chi Rho symbol is a combination of two Greek letters to create a symbol that is similar to the English letter P overlaid with the letter X. These Greek letters chi and rho are at the beginning of ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ or “Christos,” which translates to “Christ” in English. 

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