Archbishop of York visits Pope Francis

24 May 2023 • Persistent link:

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York in the Church of England, is leading a delegation on a visit to Rome from May 20-24. As part of their journey, they have visited the Basilicas of St Peters and St Paul Outside the Walls, where they spent time praying in the crypts. Prayer at the tombs of the apostles is a traditional focus of pilgrimage to Rome.

On Sunday, the delegation attended All Saints Anglican Church, an English parish in the heart of Rome where the Archbishop preached. He also preached at the Anglican Centre in Rome on Tuesday. Other visits will be to the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay Roman Catholic association dedicated to social service; the Benedictine monastery of San Gregorio al Celio, in Rome, from which Pope St Gregory sent St Augustine to Canterbury; and the Venerable English College, a seminary training English and Welsh Roman Catholic priests.

The highlight of their trip was a private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace. Archbishop Cottrell said that his audience with Pope Francis, at which he was accompanied by his chaplain, the Revd Dr Jenny Wright, and his wife, Rebecca, had “further consolidated the strong bonds of friendship between our two World Communions. We are now looking forward, for further cooperation between the Dicasteries of the Vatican and the Anglican Centre in Rome.” Archbishop Ian Ernest, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See, accompanied them on their visit. The delegation was also accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, and Revd Martin Browne OSB, the Dicastery official responsible for relations with Anglicans.

During the meeting, the Archbishop did not miss the opportunity to show his gratitude for Pope Francis’ coronation gift to King Charles III. Pope Francis gave relics of the True Cross which have been incorporated into a new processional cross used at the coronation and now residing in Wales. It is known as the Cross of Wales.

The Archbishop’s visit this week also includes meetings with Vatican departments connected with evangelization and ecumenism. On Wednesday, he will participate in a conversation with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, of the Dicastery for Evangelization, at a conference entitled “The Ecumenical Impact on Evangelization”.

Archbishop Cottrell spoke of the encouragement of meeting people within the Roman Catholic Church leadership. “My prayer is that Christians of all denominations can work together more and be united in our desire to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, as we look to share the love of God as seen in Jesus with the many in our world who long for hope and meaning in their lives.

“It is my experience that when we, the Church of Jesus Christ in all its manifold shapes and sizes, reach out together in mission, in service of the world, and in proclamation of the gospel, that our unity is strengthened and revealed.”

Archbishop Cottrell’s visit is being hosted by Archbishop Ernest, who said that the visit: “comes as an affirmation of the longing of the Anglican Communion to diligently and constantly work for the visible unity of Christians. The personal commitment of Archbishop Stephen, in the different callings he has exercised, to encourage a collaborative spirit amongst different groups of people, in spite of cultural, denominational, and religious differences, inspires and encourages us to carry forward with love the mission entrusted to the Anglican Centre in Rome.” The Anglican Centre is a vital link between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, working on shared projects as well as offering opportunities for study, hospitality and encounter.

While in Rome, Archbishop Cottrell is sharing daily video updates via: