The Archbishop of Canterbury and His Holiness Pope Francis

The Anglican Centre in Rome is the permanent Anglican Communion presence in Rome. It is the living reality of our Communion’s commitment to the full visible unity of the Church, working collaboratively with all Christians for justice and peace in the world. It is also the base of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See, who is also the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He liaises between Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby and works with Anglican Communion and Vatican bodies on joint projects for education, ecumenism, and shared mission. 
 
The Centre was integral to the establishment of a multi-faith anti-slavery network, working to combat human trafficking, engaging with churches and agencies in Italy. In 2015 the Centre received a Lampedusa Cross, made from a boat which sank off Lampedusa island in the Mediterranean, which lies on the altar of our chapel reminding us of people who are displaced. The Centre works closely with the Catholic lay community, St. Egidio in Rome, who minister to the poor and disadvantaged, and is helping facilitate a similar mission in England. The Centre seeks to bring down barriers of misunderstanding between Anglicans and Catholics; hosting scholars, art exhibitions, specialised courses, creating a space for hospitality and encounter. We also encourage choirs from around the Anglican Communion to come to Rome to celebrate the Anglican choral tradition in the Eternal City.

Fifty Years and More of Service and Witness

St Paul VI and Archbishop Michael RamseyThe Anglican Centre in Rome was founded in 1966 following the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey. Famously, as they parted, the Pope took off his Episcopal ring and placed it on the ring finger of the Archbishop. This gesture symbolised the friendship between the two Christian leaders and the hope they cherished that this same love would also come to transform the relationship between their churches. The Anglican Centre was to play a fundamental part in this transformation.
 
The Centre was charged with developing a new relationship of friendship and deeper understanding between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, focussing on three main areas; areas which have continued to develop and flourish to this day.

What difference has the Anglican Centre made?

If we measure the growth in mutual awareness, understanding, trust and cooperation between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church in decades, we can see five great steps forward:

  • Since Vatican II and its decree on ecumenism we have totally embraced each other’s baptism: we are members one of another in the mystical body of Christ, in the life and community of the triune God;
  • It is now possible for Anglican and Roman Catholic priests to co-preside at the marriage of Anglican and Roman Catholic partners;
  • We have witnessed agreement on the meaning of the great thanksgiving in the Eucharist as well as baptism. We have witnessed agreement on 'the Church as Communion', on the meaning of Christian marriage;
  • In principle, we concur on the crucial doctrine of justification by faith in Christ, unto good works. This means that the main theological reason for the Reformation has been resolved;
  • We are working hard on doctrines about authority, Mary, the way global and local church holds together, and the way the global and local church discerns right ethical teaching.

The Anglican Centre in Rome has been an embodiment of this progress and this journey in hope for 50 years. The Centre has sought to demonstrate that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion are totally serious and fully committed to the belief that Jesus held up before us in John’s Gospel “that they may all be one”.

May they all be one; Even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; may they be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. [John 17:21]

The Anglican Centre has sought to live this hope by being a presence, by encouraging conversation, by worship, hospitality and education, by the exchange of gifts and by initiating and encouraging: communicating fresh ideas and best practice.