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The title "Christ the King" is also frequently used as a name for churches, schools, seminaries, hospitals, and religious institutes.
The titles of "Christ" and "king" are not used together in the gospel, but "Christ" is in itself a royal title (i.e. "the anointed [king]").
In the Greek text, the Christ is explicitly identified as king () several times, so in Matthew 2:2 ("Where is the newborn king of the Jews?").
In John 18, Pilate refers to the implication that the Christ is a royal title by inquiring explicitly if Jesus claims to be the "king of the Jews" ( ).
Similarly, in John 1:49, a follower addresses Jesus as "the king of Israel" (? ).
Outside of the gospel, the First Epistle to Timothy (6:14–15) explicitly applies the phrase of "king of kings and lord of lords" ( ), taken from the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 10:17) to Jesus Christ.
The concept of Christ as king is not a new idea. Around 314 it was the subject of an address given by Eusebius. Depictions of the imperial Christ arise in the later part of the fourth century.
Pope Pius XI's first encyclical was Ubi arcano Dei consilio of December 1922. Writing in the aftermath of World War I, Pius noted that while there had been a cessation of hostilities, there was no true peace. He deplored the rise of class divisions and unbridled nationalism, and held that true peace can only be found under the Kingship of Christ as "Prince of Peace". "For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of individuals by His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one's life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His example."
Christ's kingship was addressed again in the encyclical Quas primas of Pope Pius XI, published in 1925. Michael D. Greaney called it "possibly one of the most misunderstood and ignored encyclicals of all time." The pontiff's encyclical quotes with approval Cyril of Alexandria, noting that Jesus's kingship was given to him by the Father, and was not obtained by violence: "'Christ,' he says, 'has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.'" He also referenced Leo XIII's 1899 Annum sacrum wherein Leo relates the Kingship of Christ to devotion to his Sacred Heart.
Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 to remind Christians that their allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly supremacy. Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Christ's kingship is not based on "human power" but on loving and serving others.
The hymn "To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King", was written by Msgr. Martin B. Hellrigel in 1941 to the tune "Ich Glaub An Gott".