Small shards of wood from what some believe is the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified have been incorporated into a cross that will lead King Charles’ coronation procession.
Two pieces have been gifted to King Charles by the Pope, and have been fixed into the Cross of Wales, which will be carried into Westminster Abbey next month.
Legend has it that the mother of Roman emperor Constantine I discovered the hiding place of three crosses sometime between 326AD and 328AD, one of which was said to bear Jesus’s name.
Fragments from the cross have been shared among mostly Catholic organisations around the world, while protestant churches largely question its authenticity.
The tiny fragments are shaped like crosses – one of which is 1cm and the other is only 5mm, and have been set into the larger silver cross behind a rose crystal gemstone, and can only be seen up close.
The Cross of Wales was gifted from Charles to the Church in Wales, and will be blessed by the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, in a service in Llandudno on Wednesday, and when it arrives in London, it will be shared between the Anglican and Catholic Churches.
It was made from recycled silver bullion, which was provided by the Royal Mint in South Wales, and includes a shaft of Welsh windfall timber, and Welsh slate.
The words from the last sermon of St David are inscribed in Welsh, which say: “Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain” (translated as: “Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things).
A full hallmark and a leopard’s head make up part of the silver element, and were applied by King Charles himself last November.
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Image: King Charles laying some of the elements of the Cross of Wales Archbishop Andrew 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.”
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King’s Coronation: What to expect The Roman 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: “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.”