What is the holy oil with which King Charles III will be anointed and why is a spoon and ampulla used?
The rite of the holy oil is the only part of the coronation ceremony of Charles III that cannot be viewed, the one in which the new king is anointed
On May 6th, Charles III will be officially crowned as the King of England. The successor to Queen Elizabeth II will attend, alongside the queen consort Camilla, the coronation ceremony which will take place at Westminster Abbey and will be watched by millions of people worldwide. Media coverage will be extensive, as this event has not taken place since 1953 when the last sovereign was officially crowned. There are many details to consider about this ceremony, which is under scrutiny due to its historical significance. There is one particular moment in which the king will not be visible, and that is the part when the Archbishop of Canterbury anoints him with holy oil.
What is the holy oil and what is its composition?
It is worth highlighting the composition and importance of the holy oil in the coronation ceremony of the new King of England.The sacred oil with which Charles III will be anointed comes directly from Jerusalem, and it was consecrated on March 3rd at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.
This oil, which will be placed on the hands, head, and chest, has been created using olives that have been directly obtained from the Mount of Olives. It has been perfumed with rose, jasmine, cinnamon, amber, sesame, orange blossom, and neroli. This composition has been modified to make it suitable for vegans, to highlight the sensitivity of the new king against animal cruelty.
The anointing ceremony, the only part not broadcast on television
One of the most interesting details of the coronation has to do with one of the most intimate moments of it: the anointing ceremony. At this point, there will be no broadcast of any image of what happens at Westminster. The new British monarch will be placed under a canopy designed and produced exclusively to give this moment privacy, away from the eyes of the public. This part of the coronation is considered the sanctity between the king and God. As it is something especially religious, it has never been captured by television cameras.
The use of the spoon and the vial in the coronation
Both the spoon and the vial have a great importance during the coronation of the new monarch. The spoon, which dates back to the 12th century, is composed of gold and pearls, among other elements.
It is the oldest of all the objects that will be involved in the coronation. The spoon is used in the anointing ceremony, where it is used to measure out a specific amount of oil which the Archbishop of Canterbury will use for the anointment.
As for the vial, it is a vessel made of gold, designed with an eagle with outspread wings. This is the container which will hold the oil, and from which the spoon will remove the amount necessary for Charles III to be anointed.