CHI RHO SYMBOL AND HISTORY IN THE LDA

Chi RhoCentral to the LDA logo is the Chi-Rho (XP), one of the earliest cruciform Christian symbols. Overlaid, these first three letters of the Greek word “Christ” Chi (X = ch) and Rho (P = r), form a cross and shepherd’s staff.  Popular by the second century, and officially adopted by Roman Emperor Constantine, the XP has come to embed the meaning, “in Christ”.

Since 1972, the LDA has used various adaptations of the XP with a basin and towel, symbolizing Christ as servant washing the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. Today, the XP with a basin on one arm, is surrounded by a Greek cross which seems to reach out and embrace the world.  When we say that deaconesses wash the feet of the world, we mean that with towel and basin, they reach out to those at the margins of society, providing hospitality, hope, and care for physical and spiritual needs.

Learn more about the history of the LDA diaconate through these images!

There have been previous versions of the LDA logo. For example, one included symbols representing fields of service along with the basin. Prior to incorporating the XP in a logo, small brass cross pins were given to deaconesses at their consecration. The deaconesses identification in those times were blue uniforms on which a pin or patch was worn. Changing in style over the years, from nursing uniforms to dark blue dress suits, uniforms were no longer required after 1969. Their only vestige has been the use of navy blue in connection with the LDA logo, as seen in the website header.