IN A ceremony first held
more than 1000 years ago, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin
Welby, was elected the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury on Thursday
of last week.
After receiving the Congé
d'Élire and Letter Missive from the Crown, the 35-strong College of
Canons of Canterbury Cathedral met in the cathedral's 14th-century
Chapter House to endorse formally the choice of the Crown
Nominations Commission, first announced in November (
News, 9 November).
The ceremony was presided
over by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Robert Willis, who
will present the decision to the Queen's Commission on 4 February,
in St Paul's Cathedral. Bishop Welby will then be the Archbishop of
Canterbury. He will be enthroned on 21 March in Canterbury
On Wednesday, the Dean
described the "extraordinary" extent of the interest in the
election. Furthermore, the Revd Professor Robin Gill, Hon.
Provincial Canon of Canterbury and Canon Theologian of the diocese
in Europe, had flown in from Gibraltar, while the Very Revd David
Richardson, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Archbishop
of Canterbury's Repesentative to the Holy See, and also Hon.
Provincial Canon of Canterbury, had come from Rome.
Dean Willis spoke of the
many strengths of the Archbishop-elect, including "the quality of
speaking with great clarity . . . a wry sense of humour, and also
experience of both sides of the Church, in terms of his Evangelical
The Dean paid tribute to
the Rt Revd Lord Williams, who had been able to "encapsulate
somehow, in his own words, why holy places, and the rhythms of
spirituality, and the growth of pilgrimage . . . are burgeoning at
present". He was loved "right across the Communion", and his
ability to respect the views of those who disagreed with him "has
put the Church in a significantly different place from ten years
The election of Bishop Welby had helped the cathedral community
to "lose our sense of bereavement, and look forward to the ministry
to come. For all its historical quaintness, it was a turning point