Original Research

Covid, crown and crosier: A lockdown reflection on monarchy and episcopacy

Walter B. Firth
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6435 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6435 | © 2021 Walter B. Firth | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 December 2020 | Published: 11 May 2021

About the author(s)

Walter B. Firth, Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scripture, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa


This study was conducted during 111 days of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown and reviewed current media articles that revealed government bodies and institutions have come to view people not as priceless treasures, but in terms of the money they can generate and the economic value they may give to a nation. This view was contrasted with the historic Christian concept of inherent royalty and value that is intrinsic to all people, and embodied in monarchs and bishops. This study focuses on a review of historical literature and biblical texts around monarchy and the episcopacy in light of current media articles related to COVID-19. It found that politics and policy need to be grounded into the more fundamental aspects of our human condition and that it is the compassion and care people have for those who are more fragile: be it financially, physically, mentally or spiritually, that bishops and monarchs should be embodying in a time of COVID-19.

Contribution: This study drew its key insights from contested historical thoughts on the role of monarchs and bishops. The results of this line of thinking challenge us as we consider the future function and role of these positions, and what they mean in times of crises. The key insight gained is the reminder that the lives of all people in our communities are important as each person holds an intrinsic value that cannot be traded for the sake of a country’s economy and business desires to turn a profit during the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID-19; episcopacy; monarchy; divine right; economic value; Anglican theology; apostolic succession; kingdom of God.


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