The Last Supper and the Sacred Fir

The first king to pass the coronation ceremony was Pepin the Short, (he is also the first king of the Carolingian dynasty). Previously, the Franks, like the Gauls, chose their leaders and raised them to the shield, over time, a system of inheritance titles appeared. The tradition remained for quite a long time, until Pepin the Short introduced a new ceremony - the coronation. He understood how important the union with the church was, so immediately after being elected king, he asked St. Boniface to hold a ceremony. Kings chose their place of coronation themselves, most often guided by political motives. The first to choose Reims for the coronation in 816 was Louis I the Pious. The last one was Charles X. The ceremony was held at the Reims Cathedral on May 29, 1825.

In fact, a legend important to the crown and the French church is associated with this city. In Reims is kept the Holy Glass Maker - an ampoule with miraculous oil, which according to legend was brought in the beak by a dove descending from heaven on the day of the baptism of the King of Franks Chlodvig by Bishop Remigius in 496. This oil was used at the coronation ceremony, which, on the one hand, was a reference to the ancient king of the Franks, on the other hand, it symbolized the divine blessing through the oil.

Clovis baptism


The main main participants of the ceremony were 12-6 representatives of the clergy and 6 representatives of the highest nobility. The coronation ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Reims, who was served by four bishops of the dioceses subordinate to Reims. The order was as follows: Archbishop of Reims conducted the coronation and the ceremony of anointing the king, Bishop Lana carried the Holy Glass Maker with holy oil, Bishop Langra carried the scepter, Bishop Beauvae brought Tabar (short cloak of medieval heralds) and the royal mantle, Bishop Chalo, and a robe, and a robe, and a robe; - Royal belt (wide belt made of leather or fabric). After that, according to the protocol, the abbot of St. Remigius, the keeper of the Holy Glasswoman and the abbot of Saint-Denis, the keepers of other regalia of royal power, joined the action.

The coronation of the French monarch was held by the Archbishop of Reims

The record of the coronation of Philip V Long in 1317 spoke of 6 church peers and 6 secular peers. Then, in the role of secular peers were the large direct vassals of the crown, in the New time their role was performed by princes of blood or noble grandees. The coronation was attended by the Duke of Burgundy - brought a royal crown and belts king sword, Normandy, Duke posted for the first heraldic banner, Duke of Aquitaine battered second banner, Count of Toulouse brought a spur, Count of Flanders - the royal sword Zhuaez (legendary sword of Charlemagne), Count of Champagne brought a battle standard. If, for some reason, one of the secular peers could not attend the ceremony, for example, the peerdom was liquidated, or the feud took possession of a foreign ruler, the missing peer was replaced by the most important person in the kingdom after the king. That is, someone just played the role of the Duke of Aquitaine or the Count of Toulouse. For example, at the coronation of Louis XV in 1722, the "Count of Flanders" was the Prince of Blood, Louis de Bourbon. Also at the ceremony attended by warlords and the public.

The coronation of Louis XIV at Reims in 1654

King's day

The daily routine of the king was also carefully recorded. The ceremony was traditionally held in Reims on Sunday or on the day of a big church holiday. However, the preparation began the day before with the evening prayer, in which the king participated. So he prepared for his future service to the people and, during the divine service, sank deeper into thoughts about his duty to the ruler of the state.

The night before the coronation, the king spent at the residence of the Reims archbishop in To's palace. The next morning, the clergy and officials arrived at the palace to awaken the king. Then it was time to dress the king to the coronation, during which officials were serving. Then the king chose those who would be "hostages" of the Holy Glasswoman, and the clergy took an oath to return the Holy Glasswoman back to the Abbey of St. Remigius after the coronation.

Henry IV crowned in Chartres, not in Reims.

The king entered into the cathedral’s vaults after the psalms of the First Prayer Hour, at about 6 in the morning. After the appearance of the ruler, prayers and singing of psalms began. The king entered the choir of the cathedral and sang the psalms of the Third Prayer Hour. At this time, a procession of monks of the abbey of St. Remigius approached the cathedral, whose abbot carried a konchezhets with the Holy Glass Maker, chained to his neck. Four monks in long white robes carried a silk canopy over the head of the abbot. In the corners of this canopy, the “hostages” of the Glasswomen were located, who accompanied her all the way from the abbey to the cathedral and had to protect the vessel even at the cost of their life. After arriving at the gates of the cathedral, the archbishop of Reims and the rest of the clergy solemnly vowed to return the relic to the abbey. Then the procession entered the cathedral and followed to the altar. Everyone present bowed to her.

Only a few times the tradition of the coronation at Reims was interrupted. For example, Henry IV was crowned in Chartres, since Reims was then in the hands of members of the Catholic league, who fought the Huguenots. Instead of the oil from the Holy Glasswoman, the oil was used from the abbey of Marmouth, which healed St. Martin of Tours.

Procession of Louis XV after coronation at Reims on October 26, 1722

The oath

The content of the oath of the king was very vague - he promised to protect the church and its values, to ensure public peace, to maintain a social structure, pleasing to God, and to remain the guarantor of justice. But later, with the king becoming increasingly sacralized, the obligation to respect justice disappeared, since it was believed that the king was always fair and impartial. In essence, the monarch promised the following: to preserve and protect the canonical privileges of the French clergy, to maintain peace and public peace, to prevent injustice, to commit acts of mercy and to expel heretics. Gradually, the kings added something new to the oath, so Henry IV promised to protect the knightly orders, and Louis XVI - to supervise the execution of edicts that forbid duels.

At the coronation was used Zhuyez - sword of Charlemagne

After the oath, the archbishop asked the audience if they approved of the crown heir. Perhaps this is a reference to the tradition of the Franks, when kings were elected. Then the king was awarded the regalia of knightly dignity. The royal knightly armor was practically in the possession of the Church. They were delivered to the coronation by the abbot of Saint-Denis Abbey. The chief treasurer handed the king his shoes, the duke of Burgundy presented gold spurs, and the archbishop used a sword, which the famous Joyez Charlemagne began to use from the 13th century. After this, the anointing ceremony began.

The coronation of Louis XV at Reims (1722). The numbers indicate the participants of the ceremony.


The anointing of the world, to which was added a particle of the sacred oil from the Holy Glasswoman, was to inform the king of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After handing over the armor, he took off part of his clothes and lowered the silk blouse so that his shoulders, chest and arms were open to the elbows. In the cathedral, prayers were heard for the health of the sovereign, and afterwards they sang prayer appeals, which the hero of the occasion listened to on his knees in front of the altar. A diskos with peace was placed on the altar, the Holy Glassblock was handed over to Archbishop Reims and he added a piece of oil from this vessel to the world and mixed them. With his thumb, the archbishop smeared the king’s body with the world — the crown of the head, center of the chest, right, then left shoulder, both elbows, and after the king put on his hands. After that, the monarch became the "anointed of God."

Coronation of Charles X on May 28, 1825. The work of Francois Gerard.

Regalia transfer

King dressed in a tunic, dalmatic and royal mantle, decorated with fleur-de-lis. After that, he passed the royal regalia. Among them:

  • the ring is a sign of royal dignity, in the image of the bishops as a symbol of the Catholic faith, it emphasized the connection between the king and the Church;
  • scepter with fleur-de-lis, as a symbol of kingdom management;
  • the golden crown, which was a golden rim with four pillars, on which the heraldic lily held;
  • spurs as a symbol of military duties;
  • sword, symbolizing the protection of the Church and the people.

After this, the king ascended to the throne, and each of the peers swore an oath of loyalty to him. Then the doors of the cathedral opened and let in the public, who could see their ruler.

Then the ceremony did not end, the liturgy continued, in which the king also took part. The king received the sacrament, and after the liturgy the church part of the coronation was completed. Further, according to the protocol, a solemn feast followed, which in essence was a continuation of the sacrament of the sacrament. This dinner was a ritual meal in which the monarch personified Jesus Christ, and the 12 church and secular peers who took part in the action personified the apostles. There were no women at the table, and the peers and the king themselves were dressed in the same clothes as during the ceremony. The celebration officially ended only with the return of the king to Paris. It was considered the first official visit to the city. The head of state entered the capital through the gates of the Abbey of Saint-Denis.

Watch the video: The Last Supper (November 2019).