Can you tell me what the letters JHS mean? You can see them on the picture below. I am from Slovakia (East Europe) and we speak Slovak and these letters are from Catholic church. I saw these letters on many pantings in Slovak churches. But I do not know their meaning.

Thanks for explanation.

enter image description here


It's one of many shorthand names for "Jesus"


In the Latin-speaking Christianity of medieval Western Europe (and so among Catholics and many Protestants today), the most common Christogram became "IHS" or "IHC", denoting the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, iota-eta-sigma, or ΙΗΣ.

The Greek letter iota is represented by I, and the eta by H, while the Greek letter sigma is either in its lunate form, represented by C, or its final form, represented by S. Because the Latin-alphabet letters I and J were not systematically distinguished until the 17th century, "JHS" and "JHC" are equivalent to "IHS" and "IHC".

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    I was under the impression that it was the first two letters and the last one, following Greek convention to mark with the last letter the case the word is in (see ΙϹ ΧϹ for ΙΗϹΟΥϹ ΧΡΙϹΤΟϹ and ΜΡ ΘΥ for ΜΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ in Byzantine icons, for example). – Wtrmute Apr 18 '17 at 19:38
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    Does this also explain the slang (albeit profane) exclamatory phrase "Jesus H. Christ!" that I heard with some frequency in my youth? – KorvinStarmast Apr 18 '17 at 21:29
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    @KorvinStarmast Seems like a distinct possibility. – Nathaniel is protesting Apr 18 '17 at 22:20
  • english.stackexchange.com/q/25716/192360 @KorvinStarmast I learned something new today thanks to your comment – Kris Nov 27 '17 at 4:00
  • @Kris a pleasure to serve. :) – KorvinStarmast Nov 27 '17 at 13:05

Jesus Hominum Salvator (Latin: Jesus Savior of Mankind) JHS. this is the direct explanation to your picture. Merry Christmas!


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