19 April 2023, The Tablet

Pope gives King 'relic of True Cross' to mark Coronation

Pope gives King 'relic of True Cross' to mark Coronation

The Cross of Wales is blessed by Archbishop of Wales Andrew John during a service at Holy Trinity Church in Llandudno, north Wales.
All pics by PA Images / Alamy Stock

Pope Francis has given King Charles III a “relic of the True Cross” as a personal gift.

The relic has been incorporated into the Cross of Wales, a new processional cross presented by the King as a centenary gift to the Church in Wales. The Cross of Wales will lead the Coronation procession at Westminster Abbey on 6 May.

The Church in Wales described the gift from Pope Francis as “a significant ecumenical gesture”.

Inscribed with words from St David’s last sermon, the Cross of Wales was this morning blessed by the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno.

The cross was commissioned by King Charles when Prince of Wales to celebrate the centenary of the Church in Wales, with the Goldsmiths’ Company delivering the design and production processes.

It is designed and made from recycled silver bullion from the Royal Mint at Llantrisant by master silversmith Michael Lloyd, in consultation with the Royal Collection.

It also includes a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and the stand is made of Welsh slate. It is inscribed with words from the last sermon of St David: “Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain”, which translates as: “Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.”

The Anglican Archbishop of Wales Andy 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.”

At the centre of the new Cross of Wales is a relic of the True Cross, a personal gift from Pope Francis.

The Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff and Bishop of Menevia, 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.”

Designer and maker, Michael Lloyd said, “This project started with a love of the material, its malleability, its potential for expression. 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 6th May.” 

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