This feast reminds us that whatever earthly powers may do or ask of us, Christ is the true king that should reign in our hearts. Here are 5 things about this feast you may not have known:
1) It was instituted less than 100 years ago in 1925
In the aftermath of the First World War, in the midst of the rise of Communism in Russia, and during the 16th centenary of the Council of Nicaea (325), Pope Pius XI instituted the feast in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas, though its first celebration took place in 1926.
2) It was first celebrated on Halloween in 1926
It was originally observed the last Sunday of October (just before All Saints Day) which, in 1926, happened to be October 31st. Pope Paul VI moved it to the last Sunday of the liturgical year
3) The feast was a response to the rise of secularization, atheism, and communism
While the world was increasingly telling Christians they must compartmentalize their religion and give their highest allegiance to the government, Pope Pius XI wrote regarding the feast:
If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. (Quas Primas, 33)
4) Despite its recent Catholic origins, the feast is celebrated by many Protestants
Even though it was created by a pope less than a hundred years ago, some Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians celebrate the feast.
5) The “Christ the King” statue in Poland is the largest statue of Jesus in the world
At 33 meters tall (one meter for each year of Jesus’ earthly life), the Christ the King statue is 3 meters taller than the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.