Who gave Jesus his halo?

(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Who gave Jesus his halo — how did he have it in the first place? Do we just presume God?

The halo is an artist’s rendering of holiness and nothing more. Halos often symbolize “sainthood” in Catholic circles, but in Ancient Greece they were drawn behind heroes as having more than natural light around them.

The first halo in Christian art was in fact given to Jesus and used to represent Christ, rather than holiness. Artists would often paint or depict Christ before his baptism in the Jordan without a halo, showing that the halo is a human way of recognizing God in our midst. (After the baptism, Jesus was recognized as the Messiah).

So halos are human inventions, not God’s.

Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes

Mike co-founded BustedHalo.com in 2001. Currently, Mike is the director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. A frequent speaker on ministering to young adults, Mike is the author of "Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s" and "Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do."


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