Archbishop Ian Ernest is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Archbishop Ian took up his role in Rome following an official Papal Visit to Mauritius by Pope Francis in September 2019, prior to which he was Bishop of Mauritius and Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean.

In his previous role, Archbishop Ian worked closely with his Roman Catholic counterpart, the Bishop of Port Louis, Cardinal Maurice Piat. They have written joint statements on environmental and social issues and have delivered joint Christmas messages for Mauritian television. Together, they co-led one of the top schools on the Mauritian island of Rodrigues, the ecumenical Rodrigues College, which was formed in 1973 by the merger of St Louis Roman Catholic School and St Barnabas Anglican School. When Archbishop Ian’s mandate as Archbishop and Primate of the Indian Ocean was renewed in 2012, he invited a Roman Catholic priest to preach the sermon.

Archbishop Ian’s experience in ecumenism dates back to his childhood, when his father became the first Anglican priest to preach in a Catholic Church in Mauritius. He attended Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools and, whilst training for ordination, attended some courses at a Roman Catholic seminary. Archbishop Ian has been involved in wider ecumenical work with other Christian churches, and worked with other Christian leaders in Mauritius to establish an ecumenical training college for both clergy and laity.

He was awarded the Cross of St Augustine for services to the Anglican Communion in 2008 by Archbishop Rowan Williams. In March 2019,  he was made Grand Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GCSK) – the highest rank or distinction of Mauritius’ civilian honours – by the country’s Acting President, Barlen Vyapoory.

He is a member of the Archbishop’s Task Group, established following the 2016 Primates’ Meeting to “restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deep differences” in the Anglican Communion, and was a member of the Design Group for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops.