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This article is about Christian symbolism. For the German Lutheran magazine called "Chrismon", see Chrismon (magazine).
The Chi Rho Chrismon with Alpha and Omega, c. 1467

A chrismon is a Christian symbol representing Jesus Christ.[1] As in the case of Christogram, the term chrismon comes from the Latin phrase "Christi monogramma", meaning "monogram of Christ".[2]

Since early Christianity, the term chrismon has traditionally referred to any symbol or figure reminiscent of the name of Christ, by contrast with the basic christogram consisting of plain letters typically implying the presence of some kind of calligraphic ornamentation.[3][4]

In the 20th century the term also started to be used in a wider sense to refer to a wide range of ornaments used during Christmas.[5]

Traditional usage[edit]

A prominent chrismon is the Chi Rho symbol, formed by superimposing the first two (capital) letters chi and rho (ΧΡ) of the Greek word "ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ" =Christ.[6]

The Alpha and Omega symbols may at times accompany a chrismon.[7] In the 4th century, during the reign of Constantine, the terms chrismon and christogram only referred to the Chi Rho symbol.[8][dubious ]


  1. ^ The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture by Peter Murray and Linda Murray 1996 ISBN 0198661657 page 100
  2. ^ OED Online, under Chrismon
  3. ^ Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image Before the Era of Art by Hans Belting, Edmund Jephcott 1997 ISBN 0226042154 pages 107-109
  4. ^ Ersch et al., Volume 1, Issue 29 of Allgemeine Encyklopadie der Wissenschaften und Künste, 1837, p. 303 (German).
  5. ^ Catholic Traditions in Crafts by Ann Ball 1997 ISBN 0879737115 page 17
  6. ^ "Monogram of Christ". Catholic encyclopedia. 
  7. ^ Allegory of the Church by Calvin Kendall 1998 ISBN 1442613092 page 137
  8. ^ The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine by Noel Lenski 2012 ISBN 110760110X page 71