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Flaming Chalice: Symbol of Unitarian Universalism

Flaming chalice with people in the background.

A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Many of our congregations kindle a flaming chalice in gatherings and worships and feature the chalice symbol prominently. 

Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope. 

Our current official UUA logo debuted in 2014, offering a visual representation of a modern and dynamic faith. Unitarian Universalist congregations are free to use the UUA's logo in their congregational work, but they are not required to do so. Because of this, you may see many different styles of flaming chalices and other images used by Unitarian Universalist congregations.

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A Cup of Light All About the Flaming Chalice

By Pamela Baxter

From Skinner House Books

The flaming chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Yet where did the symbol originate? Why did Unitarian Universalists adopt it as the emblem of their faith? What does the symbol mean?...

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A wall mosaic depicts the Universalist cross and Unitarian chalice symbols.

The symbols of the Unitarian and Universalist faiths, before their 1961 merger, as depicted on the wall of First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque.

Rev. Carlton Smith lights the chalice.

Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith lights a flaming chalice.

A candle is lit

We light a flaming chalice to create sacred space for worship, prayer, meditation, and singing.

UUA Chalice Symbol