Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace
[ACNS, by staff writer] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has formally commissioned the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome during an ecumenical bi-lingual service in a Jesuit Church near the Centre. In addition to being Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop Ian Ernest, who was formerly Bishop of Mauritius and Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean, will also serve as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, began the homily by noting that the venue for the service, Chiesa di Sant Ignazio di Loyola, was built by the Jesuits – a religious group that had begun as a counter-reformation organisation. It was a sign of the growing relationship between the two ecclesial communities, he said, that the new Director of the Anglican Centre and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative could begin his new ministry at that church.
Anglican and other Christian leaders from the UK, the United States, Italy and Mauritius took part in the service, which was attended by local diplomats and supporters of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, led the intercessions, which included prayers for peace in South Sudan. And the Ecclesiastical Administrator of the Diocese of Mauritius, the Ven Sténio André, read the Old Testament lesson.
The magnificent setting of the Chiesa di Sant Ignazio di Loyola – its ceiling covered by colourful frescoes by artist Andrea Pozzo – was matched by an impressive musical ensemble, under the direction of Maestro Gianluigi Zampieri, Professor of Orchestral Exercises at the Conservatorio Licino Refice, in Frosinone. Musicians included the Orchestra Antonio Salieri and the Amazing Grace Gospel Choir, led by Timothy Martin, the Adjunct Professor of Music at the American University of Rome.
After he was commissioned for his new ministry, Archbishop Ian was welcomed by a number of church leaders, including Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; and Daniel Pratt Morris-Chapman, from the Methodist Churches in Rome. Greetings were also given by Rome-based Anglican priests, including Robert Warren from All Saints Church, part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe; and Austin Rios from St Paul’s within the Walls, part of the US-based Episcopal Church.
The service ended with a blessing given in French by Archbishops Ian Ernest, Paul Gallagher, and Justin Welby.
Prior to the service, Archbishop Justin Welby introduced Ian Ernest to Pope Francis during a private audience in the Vatican.
Click here to see our photo gallery from the service.