Monogram for the Holy Name
According to the ancient mind, a person’s name was the expression of his nature, work, or mission. Early Christians accordingly used our Saviour’s Name to bring to mind His adorable Person; and in their art they gave it the following shortened or symbolic forms:
d) The Cross as a Symbol for the Divine Name. The similarity between the Chi-Rho symbol and the Cross is so apparent that it was not long before the two became related artistically. The Cross and the divine Name serve as symbols of redemption, and as a means of protection against the attacks of the demons. Thus it became customary to put the cruciform monogram on doors and houses. One of the more common methods for the cruciform arrangement involved the use of the two words Φως and ξωη (light and life), terms which Christ applied to Himself in John 8:12; 11:25. Jesus is our Light and Life, for He gives us divine faith and grace. The liturgy desires, prays for, and obtains light and life for the living and the dead. Here we have the reason why the combination of the two concepts, light and life, in the form of a cross became such a popular word symbol in the early Church and is frequently found on doors of houses (Syria), on tombs, and also on ampullas, terracotta lamps, and other articles.