Christ the King

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This article is about the title of Jesus. For other uses, see Christ the King (disambiguation).
Christ the King, a detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.

Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of Scripture. It is used by most Christians. The Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations, including Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists, celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday that falls between 20 and 26 November, inclusive. Some traditionalist Catholics, who use pre-1970 versions of the General Roman Calendar, and the Anglican Catholic Church celebrate it instead on the last Sunday of October, the Sunday before All Saints' Day, which is the day that was assigned to the feast when first established in 1925. The title "Christ the King" is also frequently used as a name for churches, schools, seminaries, hospitals and religious institutes. A doctrine related to this is the Catholic teaching of "the Social Kingship of Christ", by which the Catholic Church advocates the national establishment of the Catholic Church, and the elevation of the moral teachings of Catholicism as the basis of the laws of nations and societies.


The name is found in various forms in scripture:

  • "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage." (Matt. 2:2),
  • "Jesus answered, 'My kingdom does not belong to this world.'" (John 18),
  • "He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, "King of kings and Lord of lords." (Rev.19:16),

also John 1:49, 1 Timothy 1:17, and Rev.15:3.

Christ's kingship was addressed in the encyclical Quas primas of Pope Pius XI, published in 1925, which has been called "possibly one of the most misunderstood and ignored encyclicals of all time."[1] 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.'" 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. [2] The Social Kingship of Christ, a secondary doctrine of Christ's kingship, is a doctrine which states that individual nations and societies have an obligation to recognize the Catholic Church as "the true religion" and that the state has duties and obligations to the Church, as well as that the Church's social teaching should be the basis of civil law. The Second Vatican Council, while affirming freedom from coercion in matters of religion, repeated the traditional Catholic teaching that states and societies, and not just in individuals, are bound to recognize the "true religion", that is, the Catholic Church. In other words, it advocates the Catholic Church as an established religion of the state.

The hymn "To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King", was written by Msgr. Martin B. Hellrigel in 1941 to the tune "Ich Glaub An Gott".[3]

Schools, churches, and Shrine[edit]

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

  • Christ the King Seminary, Diocese of Buffalo, East Aurora, New York [11]
  • Christ the King Roman Catholic Church and School, Denver, Colorado[12]
  • Christ the King Catholic School and Church, North Rocks, Australia
  • Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Christ the King Catholic Church and School, Pleasant Hill, California
  • Christ the King Chapel, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa
  • Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Christ the King Catholic High School, Southport, UK
  • Christ the King High School, St. John's, Antigua
  • Christ the King Catholic Secondary School, Nottingham, England
  • Christ the King Catholic Secondary School, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
  • Christ The King Catholic Primary School, Blackpool, England

See also the disambiguation page for more institutions using the name.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]