Holy oil made sacred to anoint King Charles ahead of his coronation

Chrism oil has played an important part in holy ceremonies including the coronation of monarchs dating back to the early church, as Neil Connery reports.

Holy oil which will be used to anoint the King during his coronation has been made sacred in Jerusalem.

The anointment is the most holy part of the coronation, to be held on May 6, and it is when King Charles will be granted divine or holy office.

A ceremony took place in The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is built on the site where Jesus is said to have been crucified and buried, on Friday.

The special liquid, called chrism oil, was declared by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, The Most Reverend Hosam Naoum.

Mr Naoum said he had “felt a deep sense of spiritual experience” during the ceremony.

The archbishop added: “So what has been happening today, I think there is that thread, that this – the consecration of the oil for the enthronement and the coronation – it brings about something of a deep and profound meaning.

“Both to King Charles, to the church and Jerusalem, to the Holy Land and I think to the whole world.”

The Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III blessing the oil Credit: PA

The holy oil has been created using olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension.

The olives were pressed just outside Bethlehem and the oil has been perfumed with sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin and amber as well as orange blossom.

The chrism oil which will be used to anoint the King during his Coronation is vegan friendly. Previously the Archbishop of Canterbury used holy oil to anoint the hands, breast and head of the sovereign. 

During Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, the anointment was not televised.

The King will also receive the orb, coronation ring and sceptre and will be crowned with the majestic St Edward’s Crown and blessed during the historic ceremony.

Camilla will also be anointed with holy oil and crowned, just like the Queen Mother was when she was crowned Queen in 1937.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem in 2020 Credit: PA

Charles has strong links with the Holy Land because his grandmother Princess Alice, who harboured a Jewish family in Greece during the Second World War, is buried at the Russian Orthodox church of St Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem.

He last visited her tomb in 2020 during a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and laid flowers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I am honoured and grateful that His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and Archbishop Hosam Naoum have consecrated the oil that will be used to anoint His Majesty The King.

“I want to thank especially His Beatitude for providing this Coronation Oil, which reflects The King’s personal family connection with the Holy Land and his great care for its peoples.

"I am also delighted that the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem shared in the consecration of the oil.

“Since beginning the planning for the Coronation, my desire has been for a new Coronation Oil to be produced using olive oil from the Mount of Olives.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will anoint King Charles at the coronation. Credit: James Manning/PA

"This demonstrates the deep historic link between the Coronation, the Bible and the Holy Land.

“From ancient kings through to the present day, monarchs have been anointed with oil from this sacred place.

"As we prepare to anoint The King and The Queen Consort, I pray that they would be guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

”The oil is based on what was used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the formula of which has been used for hundreds of years."

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