History of Solemnity of Christ the King

Today’s feast, that of Christ the King, is one of the most recent solemnities of the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 as the last Sunday in October. In Pope John XXIII’s 1960 revision of the liturgical calendar, the date and title remained the same and, in the new simpler ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class.

In his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI made three changes. First, he moved the feast to its current place – the Sunday before Advent. Second, he expanded the name to “Dominus Noster Jesus Christus Universorum Rex” {Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universes}. Third, he raised the feast to that of a Solemnity.

In the celebration of the Extraordinary Form (the traditional Latin Mass), the feast of Christ the King is still celebrated on the last Sunday in October, however the older propers for the Last Sunday after Pentecost posses eschatological themes.

Christ the King and High Priest, have mercy on us.

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