Christ, Monogram of
Christ, Monogram Of.
— In the Catacombs and elsewhere is to be found a monogram in the forms < >, composed of the Greek letters X and P, the initial letters of the name Χριστός, Christ. Sometimes the Greek letters α, ω (Alpha and Omega, the first and the last) are combined with the others, in the form α ω, or suspended by chains from the transverse bar, thus < >. The precise date of its origin is unknown; but Killen (Ancient Church, p. 317, note) asserts that it is found on coins of the Ptolemies, and cites Aringhi (Roma Subterranea, 2:567) as his authority. But, whatever the origin of the monogram, it came into new prominence and wider use from the fact that Constantine (A.D. 312) applied it to the heathen military standard. SEE LABARUM. It is called, therefore, not only the monogram of Christ, but
sometimes also the monogram of Constantine. — Schaff, Ch. History, 2:27; Jamieson, History of our Lord in Art, 2:315; Martigny, Dict. des Antiquites, p. 414; Perret, Les Catacombes de Rome, 3:96. SEE CATACOMBS.