What does the Chalice represent?
The flaming chalice has become the internationally recognized symbol of the Unitarian movement. While originally the chalice appeared only as a logo on letterheads and neckties, the lighting of the chalice is increasingly becoming a feature of communal ritual in Unitarian congregations. During the Second World War, an American Unitarian, Reverend Charles Joy, was stationed in Lisbon to help refugees from Nazism escape to safe havens. As executive director of the Unitarian Service Committee, he felt that this new organization needed some visual image to represent Unitarianism to the world. He commissioned a Czech refugee and cartoonist, Hans Deutsch, to design something that could be used on official documents, and thus an early version of the modern chalice came into being. Joy described what Deutsch had drawn in the following terms: “A chalice with a flame, the kind of chalice which the Greeks and Romans put on their altars. The holy oil burning in it is a symbol of helpfulness and sa