what does the latin or greek work mean "I.H.S" translated in English mean?

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I.H.S. and I.N.R.I. are sometimes on the top of the cross. What are the meaning of those words in the English language? Need to know because our grandson will be making his 1st communion this spring. Thank you.

-- John M. Alden (jmalden@jrec.com), March 05, 2001



It's odd, but actually this just popped up. Here's a Link to the other thread.


-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), March 05, 2001.


Don't want to mislead you. Here's a Link to the Catholic Encyclopedia's answer.

The emblem or monogram representing the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters: IHS. In the Middle Ages the Name of Jesus was written: IHESUS; the monogram contains the first and last letter of the Holy Name. It is first found on a gold coin of the eight century: DN IHS CHS REX REGNANTIUM (The Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings). Some erroneously say that the three letters are the initials of: "Jesus Hominum Salvator" (Jesus Saviour of Men). The Jesuits made this monogram the emblem of their Society, adding a cross over the H and three nails under it. Consequently a new explanation of the emblem was invented, pretending that the nails originally were a "V", and that the monogram stands for "In Hoc Signo Vinces" (In This Sign you shall Conquer), the words which, according to a legendary account, Constantine saw in the heavens under the Sign of the Cross before the battle at the Milvian bridge (312).

INRI stands for "IESUS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM" or "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."


-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), March 05, 2001.

Hi, Frank.
I notice that you just spelled out the INRI inscription as "IESUS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM."
Yes, that is the way it might appear if chiseled into rock -- as on a Roman monument. (Well, actually "IESVS ...") But, if just written down by hand, it would be "Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum."
The reason that there are so many "V"s where you might expect "U"s in Roman carved inscriptions is that it was much easier for the artisan to chisel in straight lines, rather than in curved lines. Latin actually does have two separate letters, "u" (vowel) and "v" (consonant).

I also remember being told (though I have not verified it) that Latin once had another pair of separate letters, "i" and "j." According to this claim, the "j" became an "i" when inscribed into stone (avoiding the curve again). If this is true, then the hand-written full version of INRI would be "Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Judaeorum."
God bless you.

-- J. F. Gecik (jgecik@desc.dla.mil), March 06, 2001.

Latin saw the death of the Empire with more letters than it started with. There was originally no distinction in pronounciation between I and J, only I was in the alphabet, but over time J was added (as was X and Z and probably a few others)


-- anthony (fides_spes_et_caritas@hotmail.com), March 06, 2001.

Thanks for the clarification, Anthony! I'm glad I put in that "disclaimer."

-- J. F. Gecik (jgecik@desc.dla.mil), March 06, 2001.


You're right, of course. As an addenda the Vulgate has Link : Luke,

hic est rex Iudaeorum

"This is the king of the Jews"

John has Iesus Nazarenus rex Iudaeorum

"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"

Matthew hic est Iesus rex Iudaeorum

"this is Jesus, King of the Jews"

Mark rex Iudaeorum

"the King of the Jews"


-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), March 07, 2001.

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