King Charles III made his Coronation oath on the Holy Bible before being anointed with sacred oil blessed in Jerusalem at the service at the ancient Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday morning.
“God of compassion and mercy whose Son was sent not to be served but to serve, give grace that I may find in thy service perfect freedom and in that freedom knowledge of thy truth.”, said King Charles III of the United Kingdom at the altar of Westminster Abbey on Saturday. Moments before, he had sworn his Coronation oath on the Holy Bible.
The King was then, as a priest would be, anointed with Holy oil blessed in Jerusalem. This was the only part of the Coronation ceremony which was not viewed by the public: surrounded by screens, the King’s head, hands, and chest were crossed with oil. The most sacred part of proceedings, it is said this moment was private between King, priest, and God alone.
There was then a presentation of ceremonial items, each representing a kingly virtue and making allegory of the responsibilities of the monarch. The sword presented to the King, for instance, came with the words:
With this sword do justice, stop the growth of iniquity, protect the holy Church of God and all people o goodwill, help and defend widows and orphans, restore the things that are gone to decay, maintain the things that are restored, punish and reform what is amiss, and confirm what is in good order: that doing these things you may be glorious in all virtue; and so faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this life, that you may reign for ever with him in the life which is to come. Amen.
The King was then crowned, the symbolic height of the day. Cross-shaped in plan and topped by a cross surmounting an orb, the crown is an ancient symbol of a Christian world.
The ceremonies of this Coronation, a Christian service celebrating the new King after a decent interval having passed from the death of the old, and symbolising the unity of church and crown, took place in the historic Westminster Abbey. Approaching 1,000 years old, the church has hosted every coronation since 1066 and the service featured several elements of remarkable antiquity.
A lesson was read from a 6th-century Bible, and the King sat upon the Coronation chair which, dating back to the year 1300, is thought to be the oldest still-used piece of furniture in the United Kingdom.
All this takes place upon the Cosmati Pavement, a serious work of art in its own right. Laid down in 1268, the Abbey itself says “The complexity and subtlety of the design and workmanship can be seen nowhere else on this scale.” In normal times, the floor cannot be walked upon by guests to the church at all, except on special tours where no shoes, only socks, may be worn.
This exceptional historic artifact wasn’t even seen at all in the previous two Coronations, as it was covered with a carpet for protection.
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