Ichthys is a Greek acronym, an early symbol of Christianity. The Wikipedia entry defines it as:

ΙΧΘΥΣ, or also ΙΧΘΥC with lunate sigma (Ichthys) is a backronym/acrostic[6] for "Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr) contemporary Koine [ie̝ˈsus kʰrisˈtos tʰeˈu (h)yˈjos soˈte̝r], which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour."

My Latin translation into Classic Latin would be:

Iesu Christi Filii Dei Salvatore

Thus, the acronym equivalent to ICHTHYS would be ICFDS? or maybe ICEFEDES, if one takes letter pronunciation? The equivalent for Medieval Latin would have the "J" instead of the "I"?

2 Answers 2


You're close on the Latin, but your endings are wrong:

Iesus Christus Filius Dei Salvator

If you wanted to, you could even switch the F and the D:

Iesus Christus Dei Filius Salvator

I don't really like the acronym either gives, though.

Depending on when in the Middle Ages you're talking about, you still would see an initial I. J was used to distinguish an I from surrounding letters. Its use as a consonant only (as opposed to the vocalic I) is as late as the 17th century.

  • Would the acronym have only the initial or the letter name, as I think the Greek version has?
    – luchonacho
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 13:34
  • @luchonacho The Greek is just the initial letters. Romans weren't too big on acronyms, but a good comparison might be the Late Latin abecedarium.
    – cmw
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 13:48
  • Ok, thanks. Well, Wikipedia list a lot of Latin acronyms. This page lists 323, whereas it only lists 303 in Greek. In any case, this is for another discussion.
    – luchonacho
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 13:57
  • @luchonacho Many of those are modern or perhaps Medieval acronyms of Latin phrases.
    – cmw
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 14:00
  • 4
    One similar, post-constructed acronym is IHS (first three letters of Ἰησοῦς) = "Iesus Hominum Salvator"
    – brianpck
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 14:17

That's right, but you do not have to translate the acronym, it does not make sense. "Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ" is use by the primitiv church. the first letter of each word ἸΧΘYΣ', form another word. Ichthus is the Greek name of fish. The fish is a symbol of Christ. It doesn't make sense if you use the first letter of the sentence in another language. If you take the two first letters of Christ in Greek, 'ΧP'also named the Khi Rho, it's also a symbol of Christ used in the actual church (enter image description here

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