[ACNS] The crozier of the sixth century Pope who sent Augustine to England to begin the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons will be in Canterbury as the Primates of the Anglican Communion gather for their meeting in the city next week.
The ancient carved ivory headed crozier will be on public display at Canterbury Cathedral during the weekends before and after the Primates Meeting after being loaned to the Cathedral by the Roman Catholic monks of San Gregorio al Celio in Rome. Saint Augustine had been prior of the monastery, which had been built by Pope Gregory I before his elevation to the Papacy. Augustine lead a seven-year mission to England and is recognised as the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
“We are very pleased to receive the crozier as a symbol of ecumenical encouragement at this time of the meeting of Anglican Primates and as a link with St Gregory whose vision of the conversion of England caused Augustine to found the community at Canterbury,” the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, said.
Commenting on the loan, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said: “Allow me at this point to congratulate you on the highly symbolic value of the loan of this relic, dear to the Church of England, which venerates Pope St Gregory the Great, the promoter of the evangelising mission to the Anglo-Saxon people and is therefore a mark of the bond that spiritually unites the Catholic and Anglican Churches.”
The loan of the crozier head has been made possible by the Italian Government’s Fund for Religious Buildings, administered by the Ministry for the Interior and with support from the British Government. It will be on public display in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral Crypt on Saturdays 9 and 16 January from 10 am to 4 pm; and on Sundays 10 and 17 January Midday to 2 pm. Usual admission charges apply.
- A special website and Twitter account has been created to keep people in touch with news, information and prayers about the Primates Meeting.
- The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, is asking people to pray daily for the Primates Meeting. A short litany has been published and fresh prayers will be published daily at primates2016.org.