New Archbishop of Canterbury visits Patriarchate of Jerusalem

On the evening of Wednesday, the 13th/26th of June 2013, the newly-enthroned and elected Archbishop of Canterbury under the Anglican Church, His Grace Mr Justin Welby, accompanied by His Grace the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem, Mr Suheil Dawani, and associates of his Church, visited the Patriarchate.

The Head of the Anglican Church was received by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of Fathers of the Holy Sepulcher, and the heads of other Churches in Jerusalem, namely: the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, the Lutheran Bishop, the Coptic Bishop, the Syrian Bishop and a priest of the Ethiopian Church.

The Archbishop, Mr Justin Welby, was given a welcome address by His Beatitude Theophilos and was bestowed the supreme honour of the Patriarchate, specifically the Cross of the Order of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, in recognition of his efforts towards conciliation, peace and unity.

After the decoration, His Beatitude presented His Grace with a handbook bearing an icon of St Justin, his namesake philosopher and martyr, the book of the Ecclesiastical History of Jerusalem by Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, two silver candlesticks, a golden cross for his wife, and an icon of Theotokos for his associates.

Touched by this gesture, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr Welby, thanked His Beatitude by saying that, albeit British, he found it difficult to express in English words his emotions over the honour bestowed upon him by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the other Heads of Churches.

“It is for me”, he said, “a great honour indeed, the fact that I find myself in the Holy Land during the period of Pentecost. I come to you in the fear and terror of Crucified Christ, on the word of the Apostle Paul. My first priority is personal and ecclesiastical renewal; the second, the establishment of exchange between churches; and third, the preaching of the Gospel, suffering for the Gospel, just as you suffer in this area, especially Syria. I pray for all of you, that you endure uncomplainingly and courageously. We know how much your Community suffers. Yet, the accomplishment of your mission is possible through God’s grace. You are the guardians and keepers of the All-holy sites of pilgrimage, and you too pray for us profoundly”.

Subsequently, brief addresses were given by the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, the Anglican Bishop, the Lutheran, Coptic and Ethiopian Bishops, underlying the need for accord between Christians in the Middle East, and requesting international support to their country, so that they may enjoy equal citizenship rights in the State wherein they reside.

As for the hoary-headed Dr Ioannis Tlil, member of the Christian Community in Jerusalem, he offered the Archbishop his book “I am Jerusalem”.

After a private conversation in the office of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Canterbury left for his Church.

Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem