Christ The King

Christ the King is a title of Jesus in Christianity referring to the idea of the Kingdom of God where the Christ is described as seated at the Right Hand of God (as opposed to the secular title of King of the Jews mockingly given at the crucifixion).

Many Christian denominations consider the kingly office of Christ to be one of the threefold offices: Christ is a prophet, priest, and king.

The title “Christ the King” is also frequently used as a name for churches, schools, seminaries, hospitals, and religious institutes.

Biblical basis

See also: Kingship and Kingdom of God

The titles of “Christ” and “king” are not used together in the gospel, but “Christ” is in itself a royal title (i.e. “the anointed [king]”). In the Greek text, the Christ is explicitly identified as king (βασιλεύς) several times, so in Matthew 2:2 (“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”). In John 18, Pilate refers to the implication that the Christ is a royal title by inquiring explicitly if Jesus claims to be the “king of the Jews” (βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων). Similarly, in John 1:49, a follower addresses Jesus as “the king of Israel” (ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ).

In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel proclaims to Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Outside of the gospels, the First Epistle to Timothy (6:14–15) explicitly applies the phrase of “king of kings and lord of lords” (Βασιλεὺς βασιλέων καὶ κύριος κυρίων), adapting the Pentateuch’s declaration, for the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, to Jesus Christ. In the Book of Revelation it is declared that the Lamb is “King of kings, and Lord of lords”.

Stained glass window at the Annunciation Melkite Catholic Cathedral in Roslindale, Massachusetts, depicting Christ the King in the regalia of a Byzantine emperor

Stained glass window at the Annunciation Melkite Catholic Cathedral in Roslindale, Massachusetts, depicting Christ the King in the regalia of a Byzantine emperor

Background

The concept of Christ as king was the subject of an address given by Eusebius about AD 314. Depictions of the imperial Christ arise in the later part of the fourth century.

Pius XI

Ubi arcano Dei consilio

Pope Pius XI’s first encyclical was Ubi arcano Dei consilio of December 1922. Writing in the aftermath of World War I, Pius noted that while there had been a cessation of hostilities, there was no true peace. He deplored the rise of class divisions and unbridled nationalism, and held that true peace can only be found under the Kingship of Christ as “Prince of Peace”. “For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individuals by His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one’s life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His example.”

Quas primas

Christ’s kingship was addressed again in the encyclical Quas primas of Pope Pius XI, published in 1925. Michael D. Greaney called it “possibly one of the most misunderstood and ignored encyclicals of all time.” The pontiff’s encyclical quotes with approval Cyril of Alexandria, noting that Jesus’s kingship was given to him by the Father, and was not obtained by violence: “‘Christ,’ he says, ‘has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.'” He also referenced Leo XIII’s 1899 Annum sacrum wherein Leo relates the Kingship of Christ to devotion to his Sacred Heart.

Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 to remind Christians that their allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly supremacy. Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Christ’s kingship is not based on “human power” but on loving and serving others.

The hymn “To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King”, was written by Msgr. Martin B. Hellrigel in 1941 to the tune “Ich Glaub An Gott”.

Feast of Christ the King

Main article: Feast of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. The General Roman Calendar of 1969 moved its observance in the Roman Rite to the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, the final Sunday of the liturgical year. Most Anglicans, Lutherans and some Protestants celebrate it on the same day. However, Catholics who observe the pre-Vatican II General Roman Calendar of 1960, and members of the Anglican Catholic Church celebrate it instead on the last Sunday of October, the Sunday before All Saints’ Day, the day assigned in 1925.

Institutions named after Christ the King

Statue of Jesus Christ in Świebodzin, Poland

Statue of Jesus Christ in Świebodzin, Poland

Many religious facilities are named in honor of Christ the King:

Antigua

  • Christ the King High School, St. John’s, Antigua

Australia

  • Christ the King Catholic School and Church, North Rocks, New South Wales
  • Christ the King Anglican Church, Maryborough, Victoria

Bangladesh

  • Christ the King Church, Dorgachola, Mymensingh

Belgium

  • Christus Koningkerk (in Dutch), parish church originally built for the 1930 World’s Fair, Antwerp (in Dutch)

Canada

  • Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Christ the King Cathedral, Hamilton, Ontario
  • Christ the King University College, London, Ontario

India

  • Christ the King Church, G.K.M Colony, Chennai
  • Christ the King Church, Loyola College Campus, Nungambakkam, Chennai
  • Christ the King Cathedral, Kottayam
  • Christ the King Church, Sector 19, Chandigarh
  • Christ the King church, Pammal, Chennai
  • Christ the King Church, Kottappuram, Mulavana (via), Kollam, Kerala

Iceland

  • Basilica of Christ the King, Reykjavík

Ireland

  • Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar – First cathedral in the world to be dedicated under that title

Italy

  • Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, A Roman Catholic Society of Apostolic Life

Latvia

  • Rīgas Kristus Karaļa draudzes baznīca (Riga’s Christ the King’s parish church), Riga

Libya

  • Christ the King Anglican Church (also known as Christ the King Garrison Church), Tripoli

Philippines

  • Christ the King Cathedral, Tagum Davao del Norte

South Africa

  • Christ the King Catholic Church, Mdantsane, East London

United Kingdom

  • The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool
  • The Church of Christ the King, Bloomsbury, London
  • Christ the King Catholic Secondary School, Nottingham
  • Christ the King Catholic High School, Southport
  • Christ the King Anglican Church, Aldersley, Wolverhampton

United States

  • Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Pleasant Hill, California
  • Christ the King Roman Catholic Church and School, Denver, Colorado
  • Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Christ the King Baptist Church, Dacula, Georgia
  • Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Chicago, Illinois
  • Christ the King Catholic Church, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Christ the King Chapel, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa
  • Cathedral of Christ the King (Lexington, Kentucky)
  • Christ the King Catholic Church, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Christ the King Reformed Episcopal Church, Pasadena, Maryland
  • Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Christ the King Parish, Mashpee, Massachusetts
  • Christ the King Seminary, Diocese of Buffalo, East Aurora, New York
  • Christ the King Episcopal Church, Stone Ridge, New York
  • Christ the King Catholic Mission, Riegelwood, North Carolina
  • Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Our Lord Christ the King Church In Cincinnati, Ohio – First Roman Catholic parish church in the world dedicated under that title
  • Christ the King Church, Eugene, Oregon
  • Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas
  • Cathedral of Christ the King (Lubbock, Texas)

References

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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