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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 24/30: X is for XP

Oil on Board
No x-rays or xylophones here to commemorate the letter "X" as I paint through the alphabet.  No, today I painted a beautiful church we have visited often with a great congregation, ChristchurchXP.
XP (or Chi Rho) is the "monogram", if you will, for Jesus Christ.  For a great explanation, I've copied this passage from the ChristchurchXP website:
What appears to be an “XP” in the Christchurch insignia is not something borrowed from the world of advertising. Its origin and significance is actually far older, nearly two thousand years older in fact.
It’s an early form of the CHI RHO, one of the very first monograms or symbols for Jesus Christ, used by believers as the Christian movement began to spread throughout the Roman Empire. The common language for most people then was Greek, so these two Greek letters became a recognizable symbol. The “X” is the Greek letter CHI (pronounced as the “K” sound, as in KIGH) and what looks like a “P” is the Greek letter RHO (the sign for “R” and pronounced ROE).
They comprised the first two letters of the word “Christos” or Christ, and became an abbreviated symbol for the faith. In a time when there was great risk in being identified as a Christian because of the early Church’s status as an illegal religion, knowing what the CHI RHO meant and using it was a life and death necessity in the Roman Empire. It became a secret password and sign for the early followers of Jesus, a covert means whereby believers could identify and communicate with each other without being found out.
The CHI RHO is an even older Christian symbol than the Cross, and was felt to be an appropriate symbol for Christchurch, where we are committed to upholding ancient Truth, as we offer what it has always promised: the hope of new life.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." 
Revelation 22:13

Thank you for reading and looking.  If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please click here to go to my website:


Robert P. Britton, Jr. said...

This is a good painting, Barbara! Nice composition and execution! Well done!

Thanks for that little backstory. I didn't know that about those two little letters! How cool...

Pam Schoessow said...

Beautiful painting and I love the history. I wonder if this is why we have Xmas. I had heard that "X" stands for Christ and the word has an ancient origin. Presumedly the word was made so that Christ's name wouldn't be used so frequently out of respect. Think there's a connection?

Barbara said...

Thank you both, Robert and Pam! Yes, Pam! It's a common misconception that "Xmas" is a commercial attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, but actually "X" was one of the first representations of His name!

martinealison said...


Une très jolie peinture...Cette petite église me rappelle celle des Praz un petit village situé tout près de la ville de Chamonix en Haute Savoie.
Gros bisous à vous