Speaking after the official presentation of the Cross of Wales to the Anglican Church in Wales, Archbishop George Stack described the processional cross as “a symbol, a sign, a sacramental expression of the unity of all people who believe in Jesus Christ” – for Wales and beyond.
The Cross of Wales, a centenary gift to the Church in Wales from His Majesty King Charles III, contains shards of the True Cross, gifted to The King by Pope Francis.
Archbishop Stack, retired Archbishop of Cardiff and Chair of the Patrimony Committee of the Bishops’ Conference, attended the ceremony at Goldsmiths’ Hall on Thursday, 25 January.
“Pope Francis was very anxious to make this ecumenical gesture,” he said. “It’s around the Cross that all Christians gather with their different histories, devotions, and approaches to the mystery of faith.”
Describing how the Cross of Jesus Christ lies at the crossroads of human existence, Archbishop Stack quoted his favourite saying from the Carthusian monks who used to live at Charterhouse in London, “the Cross stands still while the world turns.”
“As we look at the Cross, venerate the Cross, embrace the Cross, we give thanks to God in Jesus Christ for reconciling the world to himself, in love, in forgiveness, and in reconciliation.”
On its return to Wales, the Cross of Wales will initially be displayed at St Deiniol’s Cathedral, Bangor, the seat of the current Archbishop of Wales, Archbishop Andrew John, before beginning a tour around all the Welsh cathedrals with the aim of giving everyone an opportunity to see it. Its use going forward will be shared between the Anglican and Catholic Churches in Wales.
Archbishop Andrew John said:
“The Cross of Wales is a hugely significant ecumenical symbol. Taking its inspiration from the earliest roots of our Christian history, and inscribed in Welsh with the words of St David, the Cross will remind us all of the heart of our faith. It not only provides a focus of unity across our different traditions, but will also be a lasting sign of The King’s respect and affection for Wales.”
Designed and made by master silversmith Michael Lloyd, in consultation with the Royal Collection, the Cross of Wales is crafted from recycled silver bullion, provided by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, a shaft of Welsh windfall timber and a stand of Welsh slate. Words from the last sermon of St David are chased on the back of the Cross in Welsh: “Byddwch lawen. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain”, which translates as: “Be joyful. Keep the faith. Do the little things.”
In compliance with the Hallmarking Act, the silver elements of the Cross bear a full hallmark (of the London Assay Office), including the Royal Mark (leopard’s head) which was applied by The King himself in November 2022 when visiting The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.
The cross was blessed by the Archbishop of Wales, ahead of the Coronation, at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno, on 19 April.