Relic of crucifixion cross to be used in King Charles' coronation

Relic of crucifixion cross to be used in King Charles' coronation
Apr 2023

Relic of crucifixion cross to be used in King Charles' coronation

The Cross of Wales, showing the relic of the True Cross.(Photo: Church in Wales/Dave Custance)

The Vatican has donated fragments of what is traditionally believed to be the cross used in the crucifixion of Christ to King Charles III.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed to reporters that "fragments of the Relic of the True Cross were donated by the Holy See in early April, through the Apostolic Nunciature, to His Majesty King Charles III, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, as an ecumenical gesture on the occasion of the centenary of the Anglican Church in Wales".

Bruni said that two small wooden fragments of the cross had been gifted to the King.

The fragments have been incorporated into a new Cross of Wales that will lead the procession at the King's coronation at Westminster Abbey on 6 May.

The cross has been inscribed with words from the last sermon by St David, the patron saint of Wales. In Welsh, they read, "Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain." Translated into English, this is, "Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things."

The cross was presented by King Charles as a centenary gift to the Church in Wales, and blessed by the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno, on Wednesday.

Archbishop John said, "We are honoured that His Majesty has chosen to mark our centenary with a cross that is both beautiful and symbolic.

"Its design speaks to our Christian faith, our heritage, our resources and our commitment to sustainability. We are delighted too that its first use will be to guide Their Majesties into Westminster Abbey at the coronation Service."

Designer and maker, Michael Lloyd, crafted the cross from recycled silver bullion provided by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, together with a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and a stand of Welsh slate.

"This project started with a love of the material, its malleability, its potential for expression," he said.

"The commission has allowed me to delve into the previous 1,000 years of faith and history.

"Now, with more than 267 thousand hammer blows, the cross has emerged from the inanimate sheets of silver, and I am delighted it will be used as part of the coronation service on 6 May."

Following the coronation, the cross will be officially received by the Church in Wales at a service and its use shared between the Anglican and Catholic Churches in Wales.

The Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, Mark O'Toole, said, "With a sense of deep joy we embrace this Cross, kindly given by King Charles, and containing a relic of the True Cross, generously gifted by the Holy See.

"It is not only a sign of the deep Christian roots of our nation but will, I am sure, encourage us all to model our lives on the love given by our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

"We look forward to honouring it, not only in the various celebrations that are planned, but also in the dignified setting in which it will find a permanent home."