The seal of Urban Monasticism is made up of three interlocking squares with a christogram in the center.
The Outer Portion
The squares makes 12 points with one for each of the apostles. Four being the number of gospels, and three being a reference to the trinitarian nature of God shows up both in the three squares, and again in the three letters of the christogram. Furthermore the choice of squares is a reference to the planning used in cities, and their overlap was inspired by the Place de l’Étoile in Paris. That place is where people join in celebration, as we join Christ in celebrating. The four points symbolize the four aspects of our lives: work, prayer, fellowship, and rest.
And each square being connected and bound to the others is a symbol of our need for community and fellowship. When overlapped the three squares form a single circular shape. This circular shape reminds us of the stone that was rolled away from the tomb of Jesus. A moment that revealed a shift in history. A reminder to use that Jesus is not dead, but alive.
The Inner Portion – Christogram
Christograms take letters associated with the names of Jesus and make them into a symbol which represents Him. The Christogram in the center uses the greek letters iota-eta-sigma (often IHS or IHC in latin alphabets). These are the first three letters of the greek name of Jesus – ΙΗΣΟΥΣ. We chose to use the name of Jesus instead of his title as Christ (chi or chi-rho) for our strong connection with the human person of Jesus.
Jesus is a person who – like us – lived amongst people in cities, worked, prayed, fellowship, and rested. Each successive letter is smaller than the one preceding it representing Jesus drawing us into himself, and calling us to let him be the center of our lives. The first two letters also create a greek cross (a cross with equal length arms).
Traditionally IHS Christograms had two additional components. A cross above, and the three nails below. This Christogram has integrated the cross into the letter form. It has also left off the three nails, and instead reference the moment the stone was rolled away from the tomb mentioned above.
The whole seal feels balanced and nearly symmetrical. This subtle asymmetry reminds us that we live in a kingdom not of this world, and that we are not yet truly home. Jesus, our Lord, may your kingdom come.