On sale is a lovely pendant/necklace with with the Ichthys, or fish symbol with cross design (see below for explanation) that is carved from genuine olive wood (see below for information on olive wood.) It is approximately 3cm x 1.5 cm. Each one comes with a certificate of authenticity.
What is the Ichthys symbol?
The Ichthys, or fish symbol, was used by early Christians to covertly identify each other. The symbol was simple to draw and was often used among Christians as a type of password during times of persecution by the Roman government. If two strangers met and were unsure whether each other was a Christian, one would draw an arc in the earth like:). If the other were a Christian, they would complete the symbol with a reverse arc: (), forming the outline of a fish.
Why a fish?
The fish outline is a logical symbol for the early Christian church to adopt. Fish are often mentioned in the gospels.
Some of the gospel verses which mention fish are:
· Mark 1:17: ''Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.''
· Matthew 12:40: ''...Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.''
· Matthew 14:17: ''And they said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish.'''
· Luke 5:6: ''And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.''
· Luke 24:42: ''So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.''
· John 21:6: ''And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.''
· 1 Corinthians 15:39: ''All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds.''
Some Christians believe that a second link between their religion and the fish symbol is seen in the Greek word for fish (ichthus, spelled: Iota Chi Theta Upsilon Sigma). That is an acrostic * which has many translations in English. The most popular appears to be ''Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior'' 16 [Iesous (Jesus) CHristos (Christ) THeou (God) Uiou (Son) Soter (Savior)].
The Apostles were often referred to as ''fishers of men''. Followers of Christianity were called Pisciculi; the root of this Latin word is ''fish''. The symbols of ''sacremental fish, with wine and a basket of bread represents the Eucharist and the Last Supper in Christian art.''
Information about olive wood:
Olive trees are indigenous to the Holy Land and are treasured because the oil from their fruit has been used for religious rites since biblical times. The olive wood used in these beautiful products is of the highest quality and is distinctive for its dark lines. It comes only from olive wood trees that are grown in the area between Shechem and Hebron that are not irrigated. The olive tree is a protected species in Israel and cannot be cut down. Once every two years the olive trees are pruned so that they bear fruit and it is from these prunings that these handcrafted pieces are made. The prunings are stored for almost 5 years until they are dry enough to carve, before they are used by the craftsmen for these exquisite pieces.
Environmentally friendly as they are made only from the prunings of ancient olive trees growing in the Bethlehem region, the site of the nativity of Jesus (Matt 2, Luke 2).
''The wood from the Tree of Life, those who grasp it will experience eternal Happiness...'' Proverbs 3:18 .
Olive wood items make perfect gifts. Not only are they imbued with spirituality, they also do not require much care since olive oil is naturally protecting them from corrosion and changes of color.