February 24, 2024

A special coronation gift from Pope Francis

King Charles will be crowned in a few weeks and has now received a gift in advance. Photograph: AP Pool/Kirsty Wigglesworth

the Royal family

Vera Sibnich

The Coronation of King Charles III The 6th of May in Westminster Abbey is a very big event, not only for the British people but also for the Church in the United Kingdom. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, announced that the ceremony would be “deeply rooted in Christian traditions and symbols.”

It was now announced that the Catholic Church would also play a role in Charles' coronation. Because Charles, who is king as head of the Church of England, received a very special gift for his coronation.

Coronation of Charles: a gift from Pope Francis

as “timesPope Francis reportedly gave the new king an important relic for his coronation. These are two splinters of wood that are said to have come from the cross on which Jesus was crucified. According to the report, the length of the pieces is five and ten millimeters. The Times newspaper wrote that the Vatican is convinced of its authenticity.

The valuable wooden fragments were framed in the 'Cross of Wales', a silver cross carried in the coronation procession. Archbishop Andrew John of Wales, who consecrated the cross, said he was “delighted that his first task will be to lead Their Majesties to Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony.” Meanwhile, the Church of Wales emphasizes the meaning behind Pope Francis' decision to make such a gift to the King.

Andrew John emphasizes once again that a gift is a great gesture. “It is very important. It is wonderful that the King is fond of the Vatican, and as a result of this very good relationship, Pope Francis has agreed to give up these small pieces of the Holy Cross.”

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In fact, Charles met the head of the Catholic Church several times. In 2017, Charles and Queen Camilla had a private audience with Francis, and in 2019 Charles traveled to the Vatican to be canonized.

Bulletin - 04/19/2023, Great Britain, London: This undated photo released by the Church in Wales shows the Welsh Cross being carried into Westminster Abbey next month...

Wood fragments are incorporated into this cross.Photo: PA Media/Julia Skupny

Wood splinters are controversial

However, there is a heated debate about the true meaning of the wood splinters. According to The Times, it has been debated for centuries whether the wood actually comes from the cross of Jesus. The Times wrote: “There are no records in the Bible of the cross that saved Calvary.” According to legend, Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, discovered them during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

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However, this has not been proven. In the 19th century, a French historian attempted to locate all parts of the cross, claiming that they represented only a small fraction of the size of the actual cross.

Francis' gift to Charles is still considered a great gesture. The cross has since been officially consecrated by the Archbishop of Wales. The cross itself was a gift from Charles to the church on the occasion of its centenary, and will now feature magnificently at his coronation.