Echoes of Graduation and Coronation

“P.S. I am highly pleased with your Declaration. God preserve the united States. We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?”

John Page to Thomas Jefferson (July 20, 1776) 

Last week was graduation week! Another race has concluded. As I reflected, I had to pause many times and acknowledge Providence and the various Angels in the Whirlwinds directing the storms around us. Those angels came in the form of parents, family, teachers, and administrators. It is a sobering moment for our graduates to close the door of their secondary education and, for many, part from the people, things or friendships that have surrounded them and given them refuge and a place of belonging for these past years. 

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

—André Gide 

As those new oceans are navigated, we need to remember, as our guest speaker Dr. Kenneth Calvert quoted C.S. Lewis, to “keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds.”

We do so by engaging the wisdom of the ages from the classical works that teach us. The classics and classical education are the rediscovery of virtue, beauty, and truth found under the debris of modern ideas. I looked at the 80+ seniors there in their caps and gowns, which were truly their robes of honor. Such regalia is meant to create recognition, honor and distinction for the work performed. They all looked so solemn, and yet joyful and happy. They depart the halls of their schools the newest recognized servant leaders of John Adams Academy and the world. 

The National Anthem, the speeches, the valedictorian, salutatorian, cords of recognition, tassel, etc. were part of the solemnity of the moment designed to recognize the new princes and princesses of the Academy. How could they not feel “royal” for a few hours or a day or two this week as they paraded through the hall of the Academy to the cheers of all the scholar-body and faculty? The echoes of coronation within the pomp of graduation are unmistakable. 

I thought about the coronation of King Charles III. At one point in the coronation ceremony, he takes a solemn oath and is anointed with oil, and then ordained to be the new King of England. It is almost impossible to imagine him not being impacted by the pomp and circumstance of the moment. Note the solemn oath and words and reflection to the days of the Kings of Israel. 

The Oath

Archbishop of Canterbury recites:

Your Majesty,

the Church established by law, whose settlement you will swear to

maintain, is committed to the true profession of the Gospel, and, in so

doing, will seek to foster an environment in which people of all faiths and

beliefs may live freely. The Coronation Oath has stood for centuries and is

enshrined in law.

Are you willing to take the Oath?

Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United

Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, your other Realms and

the Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their

respective laws and customs?

The King responds:

I solemnly promise so to do.

Archbishop of Canterbury asks:

Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy,

to be executed in all your judgements?

The King responds:

I will.

The Anointing

Zadok the Priest, Handel

The choir sing the anthem.

Zadok the priest

and Nathan the prophet

anointed Solomon king.

And all the people rejoiced and said:

God save the King!

Long live the King!

May the King live forever!

Alleluia! Amen!

The Anointing screen is arranged around the Coronation Chair.

The Dean pours oil from the ampulla into the spoon,

the Archbishop anoints The King.

The King is anointed on Hands, Breast, and Head,

with the associated words (sotto voce).

Archbishop of Canterbury recites:

Be your hands anointed with holy oil.

Be your breast anointed with holy oil.

Be your head anointed with holy oil,

as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed.

And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so

may you be anointed, blessed, and consecrated King over the peoples, whom the Lord

your God has given you to rule and govern; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.


The Presentation of Regalia

The Sword

Archbishop of Canterbury recites:

Hear our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee,

and so direct and support thy servant King Charles,

that he may not bear the Sword in vain;

but may use it as the minister of God

to resist evil and defend the good,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The sword is placed in the King’s right hand.

Archbishop of Canterbury recites:

Receive this kingly Sword.

May it be to you, and to all who witness these things,

a sign and symbol not of judgement, but of justice;

not of might, but of mercy.

Trust always in the word of God,

which is the sword of the Spirit,

and so faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this life,

that you may reign for ever with him

in the life which is to come. Amen.

The Robe and Stole Royal

Receive this Robe. May the Lord clothe you with the robe of

righteousness, and with the garments of salvation.

The Orb

Receive this Orb, set under the Cross, and remember always the kingdoms

of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.

The Ring

Receive this Ring, a symbol of kingly dignity, and a sign of the covenant

sworn this day between God and King, King and people. 

The Sceptre and Rod

Receive the Royal Sceptre, the ensign of kingly power and justice; and the

Rod of equity and mercy, a symbol of covenant and peace.

May the Spirit of the Lord which anointed Jesus at his baptism, so anoint

you this day, that you might exercise authority with wisdom, and direct

your counsels with grace; that by your service and ministry to all your

people, justice and mercy may be seen in all the earth: through the same

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Crowning

King of kings and Lord of lords,

bless, we beseech thee, this Crown,

and so sanctify thy servant Charles

upon whose head this day thou dost place it

for a sign of royal majesty,

that he may be crowned with thy gracious favour

and filled with abundant grace and all princely virtues;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth,

supreme over all things,

one God, world without end.


The Archbishop brings the crown down onto The King’s head.

Scholars change your tassels to the left side!

While we may not as yet possess all the regalia of kings or queens, is there anything more liberating and noble than to be a self-governing servant leader? May our newest graduates enjoy the view from this one of many peaks of accomplishment in their lives. May they remember the pomp and circumstance of this week and day; but most importantly may they remember the mission of “restoring America’s heritage by building servant leaders who are keepers and defenders of the principles of freedom for which our founding fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.” We urge them to move forward informed by core values they recited and promised to keep the past 12 years. In the words of John Quincy Adams—“pursue with singleness of soul the path of duty, imploring for the faculty to will and to do—to move in charity, to rest in Providence and to turn on the poles of truth.

Published by Dean Forman

I am co-founder and CEO of the John Adams Academies, an institution that is perhaps the most unique charter school system in America today. The Academies’ curriculum is designed to give its students an American Classical Leadership Education®. This is an education that pursues truth, beauty and goodness and turns its scholars outward in search of those whom they can serve in becoming servant leaders. This website is dedicated to sharing the concepts of an American Classical Leadership Education with its readers so that more citizens can benefit from the truth, virtue and wisdom of the past. The thoughts and opinions I share on this page are my personal views.

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