Christians around the world believe that Jesus was crucified for their sins and the cross symbol is identified with this religious faith. It adorns the walls of Roman Catholic homes. Many people choose to wear cross jewelry as a symbol of their faith.
The crucifix is a cross that includes the figure of Jesus nailed to the cross. Many Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches display this form to indicate the act of Jesus sacrificing himself. Those who are members of these denominations are able to purchase this form of cross to wear. The Protestant churches generally display the cross without this figure, in order to keep the emphasis on Christ's resurrection. Once again, those who wish to indicate their faith by choosing to wear a cross as personal adornment can choose this version.
The cross symbol itself actually dates back to before the time of Christianity. An early cross-like symbol was the Egyptian ankh. This ancient hieroglyph represents life and regeneration. The loop at the top represents the sun on the horizon. Mirrors and amulets were often fashioned in this shape.
The Greek cross, which features four arms made of equal length has been found carved into Assyrian and Persian monuments. It was a common symbol to the people of ancient Greece and it is still in use today. The symbol for the Red Cross organization is, in fact, a red Greek cross.
Christians did not adopt this symbol to represent their faith until some time after the crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, the early symbol for Christianity was the fish. The cross itself was actually associated with executions.
The Roman Emperor Constantine abolished the practice of execution by crucifixion early in the fourth century. With time, Christianity became the "official" religion on Rome and the cross became the symbol associated with this religious faith.
It remains that way to this day.