October 2, 2006
This symbol, which looks like a dollar sign ($), is actually the letters I, H, and S superimposed over each other. These represent the Greek letters Iota (Ι), Eta (Η) and Sigma (Σ), which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. See IHS Monogram for more information.
Photo: from the grave marker of Atala Blow Noble (1862-1909) and Louis S. Noble (1865-1934), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
September 8, 2006
Alpha (A) and Omega (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The Christian symbol juxtaposing the two letters is derived from the book of Revelation: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). You will sometimes see it used with the Chi Rho (PX) symbol.
Photo: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado
September 5, 2006
The monogram that looks like a combination of a P and an X is actually the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ – Chi (X) and Rho (P). The symbol was used by early Christians and is attributed to the Roman Emporer Contstantine, who used it as a military symbol. You will often see it on banners, called labarum, in ecclesiastical processions. The Chi Rho symbol is also the origin of using the abbreviation Xmas for Christmas.
Photo: from the Lilly family gravestone, Mount Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado
August 23, 2006
IHS is a monogram of the name of Jesus, derived from the first three letters of the Greek version of his name: Iota, Eta and Sigma. Sometimes you will see the three letters IHS superimposed on each other, creating a symbol that looks a bit like a dollar sign ($). The Roman version is IHC.
Photo from the gravestone of George Traut (1883-1965) and Mary Traut (1883-1951), Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado.
August 18, 2006
Welcome to the Cemetery Symbols blog. I plan on displaying photographs of various symbols found in cemeteries, along with the meaning behind them. I thought I’d start off with a simple monogram. What at first may appear to be just an insteresting squiggle, is actually someone’s initials. In this case the initials are FDW, which stand for Frederick Dearborn Wight (1837-1911), one of the family members buried in the plot.
This photograph is from Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado (Wight Family Plot)