stone carving of a fish in coral on the side of New College, Oxford, England; swiped with permission from the account of Brother Lawrence Lew, OPArticle

An ancient Christian symbol of Our Saviour. In art it often resembles a dolphin. The Greek word for fish is ichthus, spelled in Greek with five letters only: I-CH-TH-U-S. These form what is called an acrostic, being the initial letters of Iesous CHristos, THeou Uios, Soter (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour). The fish is also a symbol of Christians in general, typified by the miraculous draught of fishes mentioned in Saint John’s Gospel, 9, and is thus emblematic of the vocation of the Apostles, the “fishers of men.” After the fourth century the symbolism of the fish gradually disappeared; representations of fishes on baptismal fonts and on bronze baptismal cups became ornamental, suggested perhaps by the water used in baptism.

Associated in Art with

MLA Citation

  • “fish”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 February 2017. Web. 26 January 2022. <>