Symbol (Gr. Σύμβολον, sign, token), a title anciently given to the Apostles Creed (Cyprian, Ep. 76; Rufinus, De Symbolo; Augustine, De Fide et Symbolo; and Hilary, De Trin. cap. 12). The ecclesiastical origin of the term is much disputed, but its most probable meaning was that of a contract, or bond of our faith. One reason for the name derives it from a Greek word signifying a throwing or casting together, and alleges that the apostles each contributed an article to form the Creed, putting their joint opinion or counsel in an abridged shape. The other is the opinion that this Creed was used in times of persecution as a watchword or mark whereby Christians (like soldiers in the army) were distinguished from all others.
The term symbol, importing an emblem or sensible representation, is also applied in the holy eucharist to the sacred elements, which there set forth the body and blood of Christ.