A great traveller of Antiquity declared: but in the church, I prefer to say five words with my intelligence, in order to instruct others as well, than ten thousand words in tongues (1).

What are these five words that the apostle Paul spoke to the inhabitants of the city of Corinth, Greece about?

He must have been thinking - in our opinion - of the five words of the word ICHTHYS, a word he created for the Greeks. A little later, he would still produce the word SATOR, also containing five words, designed especially for the Romans.

SATOR and ICHTHYS are effectively two very famous acrostics: they are both composed of five words. We believe that the same person invented them, even in a relatively short period of time (about ten years).

But let us take right now a closer look at this exciting subject.


Let us first of all - as a reminder for some - see the meaning of these two inscriptions, these two acronyms, SATOR (the sower) and ICHTHYS (the fish):

Sator.......... The sower.............................................. Iesous...... Jesus

  Arepo (2).... I bear witness to this............................... Christos... Christ

   Tenet......... supports................................................ Theou...... of God

     Opera (2)... with his sovereign force............................. Yios......... the Son

   Rotas......... the whole universe................................... Soter........ Savior

S.A.T.O.R = The sower - I bear witness to this - supports with his sovereign force the whole universe

I.CH.TH.Y.S = Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior

It should be noted that the SATOR Square is lucky enough to contain a double acrostic, since S.A.T.O.R. can be read both vertically and horizontally.


What surprises at first sight with these two inscriptions is that they are both historical, original, simple, but nevertheless profound in their message: they are like a profession of faith, the proclamation of a truth revealed inwardly.

These two graffiti therefore have in common their message, in their simplicity and depth: they agree and coincide historically and also to a large extent geographically, since they appear at the beginning of our era in the Greco-Roman world  (3).

What is striking from the outset, then, is that SATOR and ICHTHYS contain neither empty formulas nor magic formulas, but simply 5 words (logos) that form a summary of the whole truth (of the whole living Word, the Logos).


We have found many more similarities in the themes addressed by these two inscriptions.

Here is a summary:

Such concordances in the symbolism and message of these two inscriptions lead us to believe that they are the work of the same author, the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

These two inscriptions are also consistent over time, having been created historically close to each other. If SATOR, as we have seen, would date more or less from the 60-65 years of our era, ICHTHYS should have already existed before 54-57, the date of writing the first epistle to the Corinthians, from which we read the passage where Paul mentions the exitence of these 5 words, these 5 logos (see note 1).


For reasons of internal coherence, striking parallelism between the different themes addressed, profound similarities in their conception, as well as the path given by the apostle Paul in one of his letters, we can deduce that these two inscriptions, SATOR and ICHTHYS, come quite simply from the same author.

SATOR is a summary of the divine and Pauline message for the Roman world as ICHTHYS is for the Greek world.

ICHTHYS and SATOR are two inscriptions whose creation dates back to the 1st century AD: they are still relevant, however, because they have come back to the public's attention, especially since the last decades. 

Thus, in the 1st century, as in the 21st century, these two simple signs, these secret symbols, remain the bearers of a profound message, which challenges and even makes people react. 

Finally, SATOR and ICHTHYS demonstrate that a summary of the truth, however succinct it may be, is also the truth.

Ichthysly sator,

Olivier Perret

To Read Other Articles?


1. 1 Corinthians 14:19. In addition, to get the most out of the content of this article, it is worthwhile to have read the previous articles of this blog, in order to better understand the presented statements and conclusions.

2. AREPO is actually made up of three words, but in its written expression it forms only one word, because RE and EPO merge into one word and the preposition A does not count (as in the indexes of books for example, it is never put the small words like thus, then, from, and, etc.). OPERA, likewise, is the merger of OPE with ERA and reads like a single word: it is pronounced OPERA with the sound E a little more elongated, that is all. See Meaning of AREPO in 

3. It is unfortunate that these two inscriptions have not been the subject of more in-depth and exhaustive studies as they stand. One of the reasons may be this: since the supports of these inscriptions can be very varied, as well as their location, their study remains punctual and localized: an overview is missing. See, as general summary information:

Moreover, in the case of ICHTHYS, it is more a drawing than a writing in itself, which makes its study even less present in the books of a library... .

4. The bread is made of wheat or barley, composed of grains sown by the sower, who is in fact the preacher, Christ. Seed is the word of God: see 1 Peter 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 

Bread, like fish, remains the main food in Mediterranean countries. Enjoying the Lord and appreciating Christ by keeping His word also remains the staple food of every true believer. John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you-they are full of the Spirit and life.

5. The cross represents death, of course. The two TENET of the inscription SATOR, the horizontal TENET crossing the vertical TENET, form this cross in the centre, a cross that does not go unnoticed when looking at the inscription, even the very first time. Nevertheless, it is... in your light that we see light (Psalm 36:9). To see the cross, one must be sincere with oneself and to accept it, it is necessary to pass through the small door (death): Enter through the narrow door. For wide is the gate, broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it (Matthew 7:13). In Pompeii itself, there are several other testimonies of the existence of the cross, already in the first century of our era, as a Christian symbol.

6. Water baptism by immersion is also a form of death... having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12.

7. The fish was the only animal to survive the universal flood without having to take refuge in the ark built by Noah. For historical and archaeological confirmation of the flood and Noah's Ark, see among others:  (documentary in French on the discovery of the Ark in Turkey).

8. The fish, as drawn, consists of two arches attached at both ends. By removing a knot from the drawing, there are still two arches attached at a single point: you can see the shape of the... Constellation of Pisces that forms a kind of big V in the sky. It was this kind of celestial arrow that showed the wise men from the east the way to Israel.

Astronomical curiosity: the 2D image of the Pisces Constellation seems to be identical to the profile of the Orion Constellation modeling in 3D...  The shape of Orion (minute 1'23).

Send a comment !

I shall appreciate to receive your comment which will help me to improve.

Your comment will be handled in a confidential way: it will only be published with your permission.