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The Flaming Chalice

The Flaming Chalice has become the generally accepted “badge” of Unitarian Universalism over the past sixty-five years. It was first adopted by the American Unitarian Service Committee during World War II.

Since then, Unitarian Universalists throughout the world have seen it as a way to express their distinct identity as a liberal religious community. The man who designed it was a Czech named Hans Deutsch, and his inspiration was the Czech religious reformer, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake in 1415 for heresy.

The flame atop the chalice represents the spirit of love, truth and liberty. To this spirit the community bears witness and with it, hopefully, the community is filled. The flame also has a more tragic significance. It commemorates the martyrdom, not only of Jan Hus, but of so many who died bravely in the cause of religious liberty.

Most Unitarian Universalists begin their worship services with the lighting of the chalice.

Adapted from the website of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (Great Britain). To learn more about the history of our Unitarian Universalist symbol, please read the pamphlet “The Flaming Chalice.”