Pope Offers Fragments of Christ's Cross for King Charles' Coronation Ceremony

Silver Cross, True Cross
Pexels/Paige Thompson

Pope Francis has generously donated fragments thought to be a part of the Real Cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified, to be incorporated into a new processional cross for the upcoming coronation of Britain's King Charles. This gesture of spirituality is never before seen. 

On May 6, the coronation ceremony will be held at Westminster Abbey in London.

Pope Francis Bestows Relic of True Cross for King Charles' Coronation Procession

King Charles first gave the Church in Wales this particular processional cross to honor its centennial in 2020. According to Reuters, it is known as the Cross of Wales. The cross was made with reclaimed wood, Welsh slate, and recycled silver, demonstrating a dedication to environmental sustainability. The piece now has enormous historical and spiritual significance due to the two tiny shards from the relic Pope Francis donated that have been fashioned into a cross and set behind a rose crystal gemstone.

The Church in Wales, a branch of the Anglican Church, announced in a statement that the Cross of Wales will include a piece of the True Cross that Pope Francis personally gave to His Majesty the King to commemorate the Coronation. This represents a significant step toward fostering harmony and understanding between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.

Another source, CNN, said that on Wednesday, the Church in Wales revealed that King Charles had ordered the incorporation of a piece thought to be from the True Cross into the recently made Cross of Wales. In honor of the Church in Wales' centennial, this exceptional gift was given to it.

He emphasized the design's reflection of Christian faith, heritage, resources, and dedication to sustainability. In a statement, Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, conveyed the Church's appreciation and noted that they felt honored by His Majesty's decision to celebrate their centenary with a cross that embodies both beauty and symbolism. The cross's first use in directing Their Majesties into Westminster Abbey for the Coronation Service was also noted with enthusiasm by the Archbishop.

This historic and ecumenical gesture reflects the growing harmony and understanding between various Christian denominations in the United Kingdom.

Also Read: Vatican To Return but in the form of 'Donation' 3 Parthenon Sculpture Fragments To Greece In Historic Gesture

Cross of Wales to be Shared Between Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches After King Charles' Coronation

Following King Charles' historic coronation at Westminster Abbey, Wales' Anglican and Roman Catholic churches will each receive a portion of the Cross of Wales. According to New York Post, the Welsh words on the cross are "Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain," meaning "Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things." The cross's silver components have a full hallmark, including the Royal Mark—a leopard's head—which King Charles himself applied in November 2022.

The Church in Wales' Archbishop Andrew John expressed gratitude to the monarch for the gift, mentioning that they were honored by His Majesty's decision to commemorate their centenary with a beautiful and symbolic cross. He also emphasized how the design reflects Christian faith, heritage, resources, and a commitment to sustainability. He said the Church was happy to see the cross guiding Their Majesties into Westminster Abbey during the Coronation Service.

Mark O'Toole, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, also expressed enthusiasm for honoring the Cross of Wales.

Related Article: Pope Francis Honors Greece's Cultural Heritage: Returns Three Parthenon Fragments to Athens