The Christian cross is regarded as the primary symbol of the Christian religion. The cross is a symbol of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Christianity, a crucifix is a cross with a three-dimensional representation of the body of Christ. The two most common forms of crosses present in the Christian religion are the Greek cross and the Latin cross.
The Pre-Christian Cross
A vast body of evidence shows that the cross was used centuries before the birth of Christianity. The cross is thought to have originated from the ancient Babylonians before its spread to other parts of the world such as Syria, Egypt, Greek, Latin, India, and Mexico. The pre-Christian cross was used as a religious symbol and as an ornament among the Egyptians, Syrians, Greeks, Persians, Europeans, and in some parts of Africa. There was, therefore, universal use of the pre-Christian cross. In many cases, its use was usually connected to some form of worship.
The pre-Christian cross existed in two forms; the tau cross and the svastika or fylfot cross. The tau cross resembles the Greek capital letter T. On the other hand, the fylfot cross resembles four Greek capital letter G's placed together. The tau cross was initially used among the pagans. It was later adopted by the Christians in Egypt where its use became common. For this reason, the tau cross is sometimes referred to as the Egyptian cross.
Evidence of the use of the cross centuries before the coming of Christ can be seen in British Museum on the effigy of King Samsi-Vul of Assyria. Besides, goddess Diana of the ancient Greeks is portrayed with a cross in a way that resembles how Virgin Mary is portrayed in statues by artists.
History of the Christian Cross
The Christian cross as a Christian symbol has its roots in ancient paganism. The use of the Christian cross as a Christian symbol began after the time of the Constantine, which occurred three centuries after the coming of Christ. The crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross conferred a new significance to the use of the cross in Christianity. Before the death of Jesus on the cross, the cross was used privately among Christians. Its purpose was restricted. After the Constantine, the use of the cross was acknowledged as a symbol of Christianity.
Modern Usage of the Christian Cross
Today, the use of the cross as a Christian symbol in practiced universally. Churches, both Catholic and Protestant have crosses placed, carved, or drawn on the doors, windows, tops, and walls of their church buildings. Many Christians all over the world wear the cross on their necklaces, bracelets, rings, items of clothing, and key chains. Besides, many Christians, especially Catholics, make the sign of the cross during worship. When making the sign, the people touch their forehead, chest, and then each shoulder. Many believe that the sign of the cross is effective in protecting them from harm and driving away evil spirits.