IHS

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.

IHS (Jesus) - Christian cemetery symbol

Photo from the gravestone of George Traut (1883-1965) and Mary Traut (1883-1951), Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado.

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12 Responses to IHS

  1. Jaaia says:

    Thanks for revealing this mystery for me. I’ve always wondered what “ihs” stood for. I’ve seen it many times but never knew what it meant.

    Great new blog. Of course the others are wonderful too. It’s nice to find someone on my same wave length… genealogy, photography, creative writing.

  2. joe says:

    Thanks, Jasia. I didn’t know what it meant either until I started doing research for this blog. And this is one of my favorite photographs of the blog so far – such a nice design. Happy blogging.

  3. Tanya says:

    Thanks for this. I’m currently working on an archaeological survey of historical Gold Rush-era cemeteries and I was wondering what that meant. I knew it was religious and Christian, but I wasn’t sure if it was an acronym or what it was. Thanks! :)

  4. Sandy Gay says:

    I always though IHS stood for a Latin saying and that wasn’t all of it–in hoc signum —. Which meant something like, in this sign you will be victorius. Anything to that?

  5. Dave Napier says:

    Hi
    Interesting site. Please note that the original greek was ‘IHC’ derived from the Greek spelling of Jesus ‘IHCOYC’. The letters were later translated into the latin form ‘IHS’. Over the years (mostly Europe 14th century onwards) the letters have been mistranslated as the first letters of various three letter words, presumably as part of that time’s christian ‘propaganda’ needs: Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus, saviour of mankind), Iesus Habemus Socium (we have jesus as our companion – Jesuit motto) and In Hoc Signo (by this sign [you shall conquer]) – Constantine’s vision as noted in the text. IHS and IHC are generally known as the “Chismon”. source: how to read a church by Richard Taylor. Regards

  6. FRANK KNOLL says:

    I AM RESEARCHING A GERMAN CROSS THAT HAS THREE INITALS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT I H N. THE CROSS IS SHAPED LIKE THE GERMAN IRON CROSS BUT IS MADE OF SILVER WITH NO DECORATION. ON THE SUSPENSION LOOP THERE IS THE WORD -SEAL-HAVE YOU EVER ENCOUNTERED SUCH INITALS ON A CROSS?
    THANK YOU.

  7. I.H.S. says:

    Thank you very much for your heip.
    God bless you!

  8. Wade says:

    Very informative. I am also looking for more information about the Golden Arrow. A prayer that i found in the Pieta prayer book. It is a prayer for the reparation of blasphemy. Could you perhaps help me.

  9. Kristine says:

    I spotted one of these in the Brompton Cemetery (in London, UK) last week! I assumed it was something religious, but I wasn’t sure what it was exactly.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the info,I saw this symbol on a gravestone at an old church in Ridgeway S.C. and had no idea what it meant

  11. ruth dullien says:

    I saw it on the cross in a famous Boston church April4,’10. Always thought it was Jesus hominium salvator!! so now what should I really believe about it? Just read too much info. I think the lst leters of the name of JESUS. Please help
    former Latin teacher. RGD

  12. David says:

    Iesus Hominium Salvator, ”Jesus saviour of mankind”
    maybe another possibility?.

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