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Anglican Communion joins in mourning the late Queen Elizabeth II

09 September 2022


Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the students of Queen’s College, Barbados, in March 1989

Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the students of Queen’s College, Barbados, in March 1989

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has written “with deep sadness” to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

In his letter on Thursday night, he writes that the late Queen had left behind “a truly extraordinary legacy: one that is found in almost every aspect of our national life, as well as the lives of so many nations around the world, and especially in the Commonwealth”.

She was not only Queen of the UK and Commonweath but also of 15 other nations — “territories served by many provinces of our Anglican Communion”, he reflects.

“Through her annual Christmas messages to the Commonwealth, we heard, in her own words, Her Late Majesty’s witness to her strong Christian faith. As Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and as a faithful Christian disciple, Her Late Majesty lived out her faith every day of her life. Her trust in God and profound love for him was foundational in how she led her life — hour by hour, day by day.”

He asks the Communion for prayers for the Royal Family and the King, all the countries in the late Queen’s realms and territories, and finally: “I humbly ask you to pray for me, too: that God will strengthen, guide, and support me in my duties at this time of mourning; as I assure you, too, of my continuing prayers for you all; and especially for the Provinces which serve areas included in Her Late Majesty’s realm and territories.”

In his tribute on Friday, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, described the late Queen’s “deep personal faith in Jesus Christ” as something she had never been afraid to share and talk about.

“She used her annual Christmas messages, televised around the world, as an opportunity to talk about the hope, peace and joy of the gospel — a hope, peace and joy grounded in the realities of whatever difficulties people were facing at that particular time,” he said.

He thanked her for her lifetime of service. She held the Anglican Communion “in great esteem”, he continued. “Over the years, she looked forward to welcoming the bishops of the Communion to Buckingham Palace for a reception during Lambeth Conferences.”

Tributes continue to pour in from the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

The Acting Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, said that the late Queen had been “much-admired and respected by millions of Australians”, and paid warm tribute to her service and faith.

“As a frequent visitor to Australia, the Queen had a special place in the hearts of Australians, and she leaves behind a truly extraordinary legacy, having touched the lives of so many.”

The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, sent his condolences on behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He is Prior of the Order of St John — a royal chivalric order with roots that go back to 1099. The late Queen was the Sovereign Head of the Order.

“We send our greetings to the new King and his Consort, and pray that God will sustain him and his people in the days to come,” he said.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, wrote: “My prayers for peace go out for her, for her loved ones, and for all those who knew and loved her throughout the world. Her resilience, her dignity, and her model of quiet faith and piety have been — and will continue to be — an example for so many.”

The Anglican Church of Canada formally acknowledged the news in a statement of “deep sorrow”, remembering the Platinum Jubilee that was marked earlier this year. “She presided through those years with grace and dignity, rooted in her Christian faith and with love for all the people she served. We mourn her death and commend her to eternal life as a faithful servant.”

A national memorial service is due to be held at St James’s Cathedral in Toronto after the funeral in the UK, and after a civic commemorative ceremony in Canada. It is to be live-streamed on the Anglican Church of Canada website.

The director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the former Bishop of Mauritius and Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Iain Ernest, also sent his “heartfelt condolences”. Other Primates and bishops have chosen to send private messages of condolence.

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