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Christ the King



Christ the King
© Cecilia Lawrence
February 14th 2014
Watercolor and Ink
8 x 10 inches
15 ½ hours

"It is I who have set up my king on Zion,
my holy mountain."
I will announce the decree of the Lord:
The Lord said to me: "You are my Son.
It is I who have begotten you this day.
Ask and I will bequeath you the nations,
put the ends of the earth in your possession.”

- Psalm 2:6-8


I was commissioned to make this one a long time ago, along with the…, the plan, of course, had been to finish it on the Feast of Christ the King, but that clearly did not happen. ;-) Well, it’s finished now, just barely in time for the due date.

This particular image with its associated iconography and symbolism is derived from a number of images of Christ, especially Christ in Glory, Salvator Mundi, Christ Pantocrator, The Last Judgment, and of course other images of Christ as King. A lot of the symbols in these various images have a lot of overlap, often including Christ seated on a royal throne in majesty, adored by the Hosts of Heaven, and surrounded by the Four Evangelists (in the forms of their symbolic creatures: the Man, Lion, Bull and Eagle, representing Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, respectively). More recent images (i.e. 1800s and on) show Christ often with His Sacred Heart, and in this image, I also added the rays of the Divine Mercy bursting from His Heart. His right hand is raised in blessing, while His other hand holds the globus cruciger (the orb-bearing cross, symbolizing Christ’s dominion over the whole universe) and a royal scepter, also surmounted by a cross. I also gave Him the Papal Tiara (as I thought that would be a little more splendid than a more simple crown) with the three crowns symbolizing His roles as Priest, Prophet and King. Three is also a symbolically perfect number, so it also signifies that Christ is the perfect King.

The Feast Day of Christ the King is a fairly new addition to the liturgy. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas to combat the radical nationalism and secularism that was raging throughout the world especially after World War I. In 1969, Pope Paul VI renamed the Feast: “The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe.”

You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

- from the TE DEUM


The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe is celebrated on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time (the last Sunday before Advent).

Almighty and merciful God,
you break the power of evil and make all things new
in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
May all in heaven and earth
acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Image details
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