After the cross and crucifix, the ichthys is probably the most easily recognized Christian symbol today. Also called the Jesus Fish, the ichthys is a highly stylized fish form of two identical, intersecting arcs. The fish is sometimes left plain. Other times it has the word “ichthys” written inside it in Greek.
Fish are mentioned repeatedly in the New Testament, but the ichthys was not originally created as a reference to the passage about the disciples becoming “fishers of men.” Instead, the ichthys originated in early Christianity in the Hellenistic world. The word “ichthys” comes from the Greek phrase “Iesous Christos, Theou Yios, Soter.” Translated “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” the first letters of each word spell out the Greek word for “fish.” The appearance of the phrase appears in Christian art and literature as early as the second century, and legend has it that Christians would use the fish symbol to identify each other when they were persecuted.