Archbishop awards Cross of St Augustine to Monsignor Donald Bolen

3 February 2009 • Persistent link:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has awarded the Cross of St Augustine to Monsignor Donald Bolen for his service to Anglican – Roman Catholic relations.

In a private audience at Lambeth Palace the Archbishop paid warm tribute to the theological acumen and spiritual discernment that Monsignor Bolen had put unreservedly at the service of Anglican – Roman Catholic relations during his seven-year assignment to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome.

He expressed the debt of gratitude owed by the Anglican Communion, the members of the international commissions of the dialogue, and successive Archbishops of Canterbury and their Representatives to the Holy See for his friendship and dedication.

The Archbishop said, ‘Monsignor Bolen has for many years been far more than an able facilitator of Anglican – Roman Catholic dialogue. He has been a friend and colleague whose deep commitment to the possibilities of ecumenical dialogue and our common witness to the truths of the gospel has been unflagging and inspirational. This award is a small sign of the regard – affectionate and admiring – in which Don is held and a sign of my personal appreciation of his work and friendship in recent years.’

A priest of the Archdiocese of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada), from 2001—2008 Monsignor Bolen was the Vatican’s officer for relations with the Anglican Communion and the World Methodist Council. In this capacity he served as the co-secretary of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), the Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) and the Joint International Commission for Dialogue Between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church. He also served on the international commission responsible for preparing texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

He currently holds the Nash Chair in Religion at Campion College, Regina, Saskatchewan, and looks forward to resuming parish ministry in the summer of 2009.

The Cross of St Augustine was founded by Archbishop Michael Ramsey. It was first awarded by him on 19 February 1965. It is a circular medallion bearing a replica of the eighth-century Cross of Canterbury and on the reverse side is an engraving of the throne of St Augustine in Canterbury Cathedral.

This cross has historically been awarded to clergy and lay people of other Christian churches who have contributed conspicuously to advancing friendly relations with the Anglican Communion. More recently it has also been given for outstanding service within the Anglican Communion itself.