Fairtrade olive oil from Palestine will be used for the first time in the Chrism Mass Service at Guildford Cathedral on Maundy Thursday.
Organic Zaytoun olive oil will be sent out after the service to parishes across the diocese after being blessed in the annual service which sees clergy and lay people alike re-commit to their ministries.
The oil is used for anointing people in parishes throughout the year for baptisms, for the sick and dying and in confirmations.
The Bishop of Guildford the Rt Revd Christopher Hill who will preside and preach at the service said: â€œIt is wholly appropriate that Zaytoun Fairtrade Palestinian olive oil should be used in our cathedral on Maundy Thursday.
â€œIt will come from the descendants of the olive trees that our Lord himself blessed by his presence in Palestine so many years ago.â€
The use of the oil was suggested by Zaytoun distributor and member of St Andrewâ€™s Church, Farnham, Rob Thornburn, who has visited Palestine himself as a volunteer for Christian organisation, Sabeel.
Struggling against enormous odds
He said: â€œI am absolutely delighted that the oil will be sourced from the Holy Land. Olive trees in the Judaean hills round Jerusalem can be over 2,000 years old and still fruitful, so some still alive today may have given Jesus and his disciples shade from the midday sun â€“ you never know!
â€œI would highly recommend this product. Not only is it a gorgeous first cold press extra virgin oil but it supports Palestinian farmers who are struggling against enormous odds.â€
The oil can be used for culinary purposes and is available through Traidcraft and the Cathedralâ€™s Fairtrade stall each Sunday. For more information about Zaytoun, a community interest company, click here.