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)She found references in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle as far back as 1021 and says the P (i.e.

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There may have been religious reasons for abbreviating Christ, as Jehovah was abbreviated in Hebrew, she said.(Note from Steve: I was constantly warned in Hebrew school NOT to spell out or try to pronounce the name of GOD as written with the letters YOD-HAY-VOV-HAY, but to abbreviate as YOD-YOD, and say ADONAY meaning LORD, or, in casual speaking ADOSHEM, or HASHEM, meaning THE NAME, and this has stayed with me as a way of reminding myself that some words are too sacred to be used glibly in profane conversation.)Resembles cross"But of course it also saved space and in a gospel manuscript the word Christ would appear lots of times.

Parchment was expensive so anything that would save space would be welcome."And it's no coincidence that X resembles a cross - there's quite an old symbol, an X and a P, called Chi-Ro, and it could be that an X looked like a symbol for Christ."Whatever its origins, it was good enough for the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote in a letter in 1801: "On Xmas Day I breakfasted with Davy".

And from another source: Europeans in the 16th century started using X in place of Christ's name as shorthand for writing Christ.

The Christian monks and scholars were knowledgeable of the Greek letter X, - Chi or Khi - which is the first letter in the Greek word "Christos" or "Kristos." The Greek and Hebrew word "Christos" comes out "Messiah" and mean the same thing: "The anointed One." For many years the X was understood by Christian clergy and as time passed, many Christians, educated and not, were not aware of the meaning.

Researchers say it is a mistake to think of Xmas as a modern invention born on the High Street.

Christian credentials And far from being an irreligious abbreviation, it appears to have impeccably Christian credentials.

The 'X' is thought to represent the Greek letter 'Chi' - the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos.

Bill Purdue, an Open University historian and author of The Making of the Modern Christmas is among those who support this view."I suppose to us it will always look like an abbreviation, but it would first seem to be an abbreviation used by clerics with a good knowledge of ancient languages," he said.

Its origin is thoroughly rooted in the heritage of the Church.

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