Above the main entrance to the Church of the Gesù, and framed by the heads and wings of two angels, are three letters: IHS.
Look more closely and you will see that the middle letter is surmounted by a cross and below it are three nails. IHS is an abbreviation of Jesus' name in Greek (ΙΗΣΟΥΣ) and since the 17th century this christogram has been the emblem of the Society of Jesus.
The Church of the Gesù (its full name is the Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù all'Argentina), was consecrated in 1584 and is the mother church of the order of Jesuits.
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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