Although it's not as common as キリスト, ハリストス is seen in the name of Japan's Orthodox Church. But why ハリストス if the pronounce of the Greek Χριστος is khristós (with a clear kri sound)? There is キリストス too, that is more common, though the last ス is always dropped.

Is that because of historical reasons? Regional? Is ハリストス an old pronounce? And if it is, why ハ instead of キ?

  • 参考までに・・・ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ”中世から現代に至るまでのギリシャ語の読みでは「フリストス」である”
    – chocolate
    Sep 5, 2015 at 8:55
  • @choco Sorry, I can't read complete Japanese texts yet.
    – Yuuza
    Sep 5, 2015 at 9:02
  • 2
    The Orthodox Church uses Russian (technically, Church Slavonic) pronunciation for source of transcription. Sep 7, 2015 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


In modern (and medieval) Greek, Χριστος is pronounced /xristos/. The [h] in ハ is the closest Japanese can come to [x]. Compare バッハ for German /bax/.

It's not ヒ, because that would represent [ç] (I imagine German 'ich' [iç] would be transcribed イッヒ). It's not フ, because that would represent [f] or [ϕ]. It's not キ, because that would represent [c] or [k].

キリスト derives ultimately from the earlier Greek pronunciation /kʰristos/, via Latin /kristʊs/ and its descendents (probably early modern Portuguese /kʁisto/). キ is probably used instead of ク for a mix of two reasons. One, modern transcription conventions weren't yet in use, and an alternative method for putting extra vowels in (which languages like Māori use) is to add the same vowel as the next one. Two, the proximity of the /i/ probably makes the /k/ sound a bit more like [c] anyway.

  • Χ was pronounced /x/ in Koine Greek, which is the language of the New Testament. This is not "medieval", but still later than the classical period. One can only suppose that the キ comes from another language, and that of course the Orthodox church would use a pronunciation closer to Greek.
    – vermillon
    Sep 26, 2015 at 15:46

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