In 1213, during the rehearsal of the ceremony, 13 pence was given to 13 men. The number was not chosen at random, as it was a reference to Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles. Henry IV later declared that the number of gifts should correspond to the age of the incumbent king or queen, and in 1662 Charles II established the tradition of giving sacred silver, a set of hammered coins which, at from 1670, would be dated in to represent the year in which they were distributed.
The tradition underwent many modifications before arriving at the ceremony present to this day.
Washing the feet of the poor is no longer part of the celebration and the monarch, more often than not, is present. It always takes place on Maundy Thursday in a church or cathedral whose location changes every year. The coin recipients are men and women over the age of 70 who have contributed to their church and community.
On April 2, 2015, it was Sheffield’s turn to host the ceremony. This was very significant because, in the long history of the tradition, South Yorkshire had never had this honour. The celebration took place in Sheffield Cathedral and the money was personally presented to 89 men and 89 women by Queen Elizabeth II, marking her 89th birthday.
Although the event was expensive, leading Sheffield City Council to spend around £30,000, it attracted a large number of people to the city, around 12,000. The guest list included around 1,000 people, including those who received the award and an additional guest.
Speaking in 2015, the then Dean of Sheffield, the Very Reverend Peter Bradley, said: ‘Sheffield Cathedral is honored to have been chosen to host the Royal Maundy. This service is a special opportunity to recognize people who have worked to make a positive contribution to their community.
“Since the selection letters for the recipients were sent, it has been amazing to see how humble, kind and hardworking these people are. South Yorkshire has so many people who work selflessly for others. there really is no better way to recognize this as well as marking the centenary of becoming a cathedral.
The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft, added: “Since the news was announced publicly in January, there has been a growing sense of anticipation and joy that the Royal Maundy is set to take place in Sheffield. This year.
“It’s a deep Christian reflection of the commandment to love one another and it happens in the very heart of the city. The 178 recipients honored today were chosen for their dedication and humility.
service to their church and local community. It is fitting that the Queen, the city and the wider region celebrate this special event together. »