|IHS or JHS Christogram of western Christianity in black.|
Description of Clip Art: IHS In the Latin-speaking Christianity of medieval Western Europe (and so among Catholics and many Protestants today), the most common Christogram became "IHS" or "IHC", denoting the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, IHΣΟΥΣ, iota-eta-sigma, or ΙΗΣ
The Greek letter iota is represented by I, and the eta by H, while the Greek letter sigma is either in its lunate form, represented by C, or its final form, represented by S. Because the Latin-alphabet letters I and J were not systematically distinguished until the 17th century, "JHS" and "JHC" are equivalent to "IHS" and "IHC".
"IHS" is sometimes interpreted as meaning "Jesus Hominum (or Hierosolymae) Salvator", ("Jesus, Saviour of men [or: of Jerusalem]" in Latin) or connected with In Hoc Signo. Such interpretations are known as backronyms. Used in Latin since the seventh century, the first use of IHS in an English document dates from the fourteenth century, in The vision of William concerning Piers Plowman. In the 15th century, Saint Bernardino of Siena popularized the use of the three letters on the background of a blazing sun to displace both popular pagan symbols and seals of political factions like the Guelphs and Ghibellines in public spaces (see Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus). The IHS monogram with the H surmounted by a cross above three nails and surrounded by a Sun is the emblem of the Jesuits, according to tradition introduced by Ignatius of Loyola in 1541. English-language interpretations of "IHS" have included "I Have Suffered" or "In His Service", or jocularly and facetiously "Jesus H. Christ" (19th century). Read more...
|IHS or JHS Christogram of western Christianity in pink.|
|IHS or JHS Christogram of western Christianity in yellow.|