10 February 2014

Jesus Christ, Victor - IC XC NIKA

You will have seen this symbol being used on the pew sheet for the last few weeks and may have wondered what it’s about.

This is an ancient symbol called a Christogram - a combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ. You will see Christograms in icons and in religious buildings, clothing and furnishings.
IC XC is an abbreviation of the Greek spelling of the name ‘Jesus Christ’. Sometimes you will see a short line above the IC and XC to show that these words are abbreviated.

In this Christogram, the Greek word ‘nika’ also appears. It means ‘victor’ or ‘conqueror’. When nika is combined with IC XC like this it represents the phrase ‘Jesus Christ, Victor’ -  a reference to Jesus’ victory over death and sin. 

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son; endless is the victory thou o'er death hast won.

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