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Pope Gives Relics of the True Cross to King Charles III for His Coronation

Elizabeth Owens

In face of the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III of the United Kingdom, on May 6, 2023, Pope Francis gave relics of the True Cross of Jesus Christ to the son of deceased Queen Elizabeth II. It was learned recently that the two small wooden shards of the Cross were given as a gift for the coronation. They will be incorporated in the newly made Cross of Wales, which will be carried at the head of the procession for the coronation in Westminster Abbey. The processional Cross is made of silver and is the work of artist Michael Lloyd.

Thus, although the coronation follows an Anglican ceremonial, it will have a Catholic element for the first time in centuries. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will preside over the coronation ceremony, with the highlighted moment of the anointing with holy oil that, as ZENIT already reported, comes from the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. 

Rome is the city where most relics are kept related to the life of Christ. This is the case for two reasons: the first is the pilgrimage of Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, who took to Rome many of the relics found. The second reason is the appropriation of relics found in other cities, during the period of the Crusades. At present, the set of the most important relics of Christ’s Passion are in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, in the city of Rome. 

A Vatican source reported that “Some time ago, the Holy See donated to the United Kingdom, as an ecumenical gesture, two shards of the relics of the True Cross, which were kept in the Lipsanoteca Room of the Vatican Museums.”