I. H. S.
On several headstones in the Churchyard is the sacred monogram I.H.S., and there appears to be a doubt as to the actual meaning of these letters. They are sometimes explained as the initial letters of Jesus Hominum Salvator, i.e., Jesus Saviour of Men; or as In Hac Salus, i.e., In this (Cross) is Salvation. I have even heard them explained as I Have Suffered. But, beautiful as these explanations may be, they are not correct. I.H.S. or I.H.C. as it is also written, is the abbreviated form of the Holy Name of Jesus in Greek. Another monogram commonly used in the early days of Christianity was XP, the first two letters of the name Christ in Greek. This-monogram is generally found with the P standing within the X, and when placed over a grave signifies "In Christ" or "Asleep in Christ;" and so I.H.S. on a headstone signifies that the person buried below is asleep "In Jesus." One of the oldest signs or symbols used for Christ was the Fish, because the Greek word for Fish contains the initial letters of "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour." In the days when being a Christian meant death, a follower of Christ, when speaking to a chance acquaintance would, as it were carelessly, draw a fish with his stick on the ground; or would use the word in some such way that the person spoken to would recognise the sign, if a Christian; but if riot, would fail to notice anything unusual.