The symbol, while pagan in origin, was adopted by Christians in Egypt from the very beginning.
The ankh is one of the most widely known symbols of the Egyptian world. It is a hieroglyph that represents life and is seen in many of the tombs in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians would carry it as an amulet, believing it held sacred power to grant strength and well-being in this life and in the next.
Artists would frequently depict various gods or goddesses holding the ankh while touching the dead. The scene symbolized the deity granting eternal life to the deceased.