You may have noticed, for example, that the logos of The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada is somewhat different from that of our sister missions in the United States or Australia. Originally, we all had the same logo (the one VOM Canada retains).
It still is the logo of the International Christian Association to which we all belong. But over time and for their own reasons, some of our sister missions dropped the fish from their logo.
We in Canada have deliberately decided to retain the fish symbol in our logo, however. One of chief main reasons is due to its significance in persecuted church history. As most know, the fish was one of the best known early Christian symbols as early Christians made the Greek word for fish, ichthus, into an acronym for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour." But, as Collin Hansen notes in his article in Christian History, the fish symbol became increasingly important as persecution increased, becoming a “mark of the subversives.”
As persecution of Christians became more frequent and intense in the Roman Empire, the fish symbol became a password shared among underground believers. They used the fish to mark secret gathering places, especially within the catacombs. In this catacomb art the symbol was frequently coupled with communion imagery—the fish is depicted swimming with bread and a cup of wine on its back. The fish symbol also appeared on Christian gravestones and jewelry, and marked the homes of believers. After the threat of persecution had passed, the fish was inscribed on the Constantinian Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Since the fish symbol was known among pagans, it remained a more discreet and thus effective identifier for the persecuted Christians than a cross. Secrecy often meant the difference between life and death for believers, or even the church's very survival. One story recounts how the fish symbol enabled fellow Christians to work together even when they didn't know each other. When meeting a stranger on the road, Christians would sometimes draw one arc of the fish in the dirt. If the stranger reciprocated by drawing the other arc, the believers could reveal their faith to each other without alerting Roman authorities and spies.
Given our founder Richard Wurmbrand’s reputation during his lifetime as being a religious subversive and the same accusation cast at persecuted believers in many countries today, it seems to me that such a subversive symbol as the fish belongs on our logo in recognition of it historical and contemporary significance. It is a mark of who we are, who we belong to, and who we serve.