25 February 2023

CORONATIONS ... French Unction

 L G Wickham Legg writes:

"There should be no need to remind the reader of the famous story of how at the baptism of Clovis a crystal phial was brought down from heaven with the chrism for the anointing of the King, and how every French King down to the ill-starred Louis XVI was anointed at his coronation  with chrism into which a small fragment of the solidified oil of Clovis was mixed."

I've looked at the vestments worn by the clergy at the coronation of Charles X; as I did so I couldn't help wondering with what Louis XVI and Charles X were anointed; because, possibly, Robespierre and his buddies and his successors may not have been over-sedulous about the careful protection of the fabled and historical Oil of Clovis. Did they simply make do with (or get the pope to help make special provision) the 'ordinary' Oil of Chrism?

A similar problem was to arise in England.


Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

Louis XVIII was never anointed and crowned. In 1825 at the Coronation of Charles X they were able to use some of the dried oil from the Sainte Ampoule which had stuck to the vessel and the fragments which were rescued after the ampulla was smashed. As it was powder I gather that at the later ceremonies for French kings a gold needle was used to stab out a grain which was mixed with fresh oil on a paten and then the King was anointed. The remains of the Sainte Ampole are set in a reliquary of sorts as I recall.

gutsy said...

I think Louis XVI’s Sacre would have used the Holy Ampulla of the oil of Clovis. The revolutionaries smashed the Ampulla. Charles X rite claimed to have rescued some of the ancient residue. One wonders if Napoleon I’s Sacre used any.