St James's Church, Hampton Hill

Symbols in the church


A symbol is something that makes us think about something else. It is said that early Christians did not think it reverent to write the names of God or Jesus in full, so they made different symbols for them. There are various symbols in the carvings, embroideries and stained glass of the church.


Crosses


A cross is the most important Christian symbol and reminds us that Jesus died for us.

A Cross

A Cross

Childrens cross

A Cross


A crucifix makes us think about Jesus on the cross People may wear a crucifix to remember Jesus. An empty cross reminds Christians that Jesus did not stay on the cross. He is alive!


Symbols of God the Father

The fish symbol
" "
In Roman times, Christians were disliked by rulers such as Caesar. They were not allowed to meet together and worship as we do in Church today. Any Christians who were discovered would have been persecuted. So they deveoped a secret symbol which enabled them to easily identify each other as Christians. It was the symbol of a fish, like the one to the left. They could easily draw it in the sand or mud with their feet without being noticed. In this way they could discover other Christians.

Grave hand

A hand coming from a cloud, or a hand raised in blessing.


Symbols of God the Son, Jesus Christ


"IHS" or "IHC"
- the first three letters of the Greek for Jesus (IHCOYC).
"INRI" - the initial letters of the Latin words for 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews' (IESUS NAZARENUS REX IUDAEORUM). This was the inscription which Pilate wrote and put on the cross (see John 19, v. 19).
"XP" - the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ (XPICTOC).

IHS

IHS

IHS

IHS

IHS
IHS

IHS

IHS


INRI

INRI

INRI

INRI

XP

XP

XP

XP


Symbols of God the Holy Spirit


A dove was seen at the baptism of Jesus. It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. A dove with a halo, or a sevenfold flame, are symbols of the Holy Spirit's power (see Acts 2, v. 1-4). The Holy Spirit came to Jesus' friends looking like flames of fire. Flames are another symbol of the Holy Spirit.

A dove

The Dove window in the nave

A dove

A dove



Symbols of The Trinity


Christians believe that the One God is made up of three Persons or aspects, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This godhead is called the Trinity or the Triune (three-in-one) God. Think of it as a clover leaf which has three parts to it. The symbols of the Trinity always have three parts.

The Father is the creator of all things; Jesus Christ, his only son, is the redeemer or saviour of all people; the Holy Spirit blesses everyone and everything and makes them holy.

Trinity

Clover leaf

Logo

Trinity



Candles


Candles are lit during services. They show that Christ is the 'Light of the world' (John 8:12).

Candle

Candle

Candle

Candle



Alpha and Omega


Alpha and Omega (A and O) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They mean the beginning and the end and so remind us that God is the beginning and the end of all things and suggest his everlasting nature (see Revelation 1, v. 8).

Alpha

Omega

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega



Cockle shells


The Acts of the Apostles records that Saint James was martyred (killed for his faith) by Herod Agrippa around 43 AD. He was the first of the Apostles to be martyred. He was buried in Jerusalem but it is claimed that his relics were transferred to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 830 A.D. where they remain today. There are cockle shells on the beaches of Galacia in Northern Spain where his relics were brought on the way to Compostela and these were adopted as symbols of St. James from Medieval times up until the present day. They were adopted as symbols of Saint James from Medieval times up until the present day. In the later middle ages his shrine at Compostela was one of the greatest centres of pilgrimage in Christendom and remains so today.

The Shell of St. James

he Shell of St. James

The Shell of St. James

The shell over the vicarage door



Bread and wine


In communion, the bread and wine have an important meaning. Christians break up some bread to remember the body of Jesus was 'broken' on the cross. Christians drink red wine to remember that Jesus bled when he died for us.



Wheat and bread

Wheat

Wheat

Grapes

Grapes



Grapes and wine



Trees, shrubs and flowers


Some of the trees, shrubs and flowers growing in the churchyard have long been thought to have a symbolic meaning. They remind us of things connected with the Christian faith. Find out about these on the Churchyard page.

Christmas Rose

Christmas Rose

Yew tree

Yew tree

Daffodil

Daffodil

Holly shrub

Holly shrub


St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk