IHS: The Seal of the Society of Jesus
Above the main entrance to the Chiesa del Gesù, and framed by the heads and wings of two angels (the work of the Florentine sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati, 1574) are three letters: IHS. The middle letter is surmounted by a cross and below it are three nails. IHS are the first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek (ΙΗΣΟΥΣ) and this christogram is the emblem of the Jesuits.
The Chiesa del 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 Jesuits.
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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 walking tours of Rome.
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