The Enthronement of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

Feb 27, 2003 10:53 AM EST

The enthronement of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will take place in Canterbury Cathedral on 27th February at 3pm GMT. Coverage begins on the BBC (Radio 4, BBC 2 and BBCi) at 2.30pm GMT.

The enthronement will be broadcasted and streamed on the BBC webpage: VIEW IT.

The formal enthronement service will mark the start of Dr. Williams' public ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishops from the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion will be joined by representatives of other denominations, senior members of the Royal family, foreign ambassadors, political and civic leaders and staff from Canterbury Cathedral.

The service will feature traditional English church music sung by the choir of Canterbury Cathedral but will also have a strong Celtic flavor with a new anthem commissioned from Scottish composer James Macmillan. There'll be music from Africa, a Penillion (duet between a singer and harpist) and an anthem from Newport Cathedral Choir.

The Canterbury Gospels will be used during the service as the Archbishop takes an oath. Traditionally this book is thought to have been given by Pope Gregory the Great to St Augustine for his mission to England at the end of the 6th century and is one of the oldest manuscripts in the UK. The office of the Archbishop of Canterbury dates back to St. Augustine who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury in AD 597.

The Archbishop will first be enthroned by the Archdeacon of Canterbury in the Diocesan throne in the Cathedral Quire - his seat as head of the Diocese. He will then be enthroned by the Dean of Canterbury in St Augustine's Chair - his seat as Primate of All England and Leader of the Anglican Communion with its 70 million members across the globe.

The Archbishop of Canterbury now has six main roles:

· Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury

· Metropolitan for the Southern Province of the Church of England

· Primate of All England

· Leader of the Anglican Communion

· Ecumenical role - The Archbishop of Canterbury takes the lead in respect of Anglican relationships with other Christian churches in the United Kingdom and abroad

Inter faith role - The Archbishop of Canterbury leads in respect of Anglican relationships with other faiths

By Albert H. Lee
[email protected]