Greek Fish - J. Niki

Greek Fish

We were commissioned by a loyal patron of ours to create three custom ornaments so she can give them out as gifts. The first of the ornaments is the Christian or Greek Fish, “ichthys.” The word is simply a translation of the Greek word for “fish”. It was not the symbol, but the word itself that first gained significance in the early church. Ichthys was used as an acronym for Iesous Xristos Theou Uios Soter – Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. The first appearance of the ichthys in Christian art and literature dates back to the 2nd century. The symbol spread in the 3rd and 4th centuries as it was used by Christians to recognize churches and other believers during a time when they faced persecution by the Romans.

Many biblical passages associate Jesus with fish or fishing. For instance, Jesus calls his disciples "fishers of men" (e.g., Mark 1:17) and he miraculously feeds 5,000 people with fish and bread (Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:12-17, and John 6:4-13). Water baptism created a parallel between fish and converts. Second-century theologian Tertullian stated: "we, little fishes, after the image of our Ichthys, Jesus Christ, are born in the water."

Today, the “Jesus Fish” has become an icon of modern Christianity. You often see the symbol on cars, jewelry, tattoos, and clothing. Some businesses use it as part of their logo or in advertisements and signage. We are very excited to have made the symbol into an ornament.