With a three-hour ceremony at the Cathedral of Canterbury, the newly elected Archbishop of the Church of England, Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby, was enthroned on Thursday, March 21, 2013. The new archbishop succeeded the 73 – year old Most Rev and Rt Hon Rowan Williams, who resigned. Dr Rowan Williams served the high office for twelve years (2002-2012).
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam and other religions. The attendees from the Orthodox Churches were from the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Metropolitan John of Pergamos), the Patriarchate of Alexandria (Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe), of Antioch (Bishop Ignatius of Larissa), of Jerusalem (Metropolitan Isichios of Kapitoliada), of Russia (Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk), of Serbia (Bishop Dositheos of Britain) , of Romania (Metropolitan Seraphim of Western Europe), the Church of Cyprus (Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis), of Greece (Bishop Gavriil of Diavlia), of Albania (Metropolitan Dimitrios of Argirokastro) and of Finland (Metropolitan Amvrosios of Helsinki). Representations attended, also, from the Catholic and Protestant Church, the Armenian, the Coptic and others.
The ceremony which was attended by two thousand guests began with Archbishop Justin beating three times the west door of the cathedral with his pastoral rod. Then he declared his loyalty to the Church of England and gave an oath of faithfulness on the gospel of Canterbury which according to tradition belonged to Archbishop Augustine of Britain (6th century). The dean of cathedral, master of ceremony of coronation officially enthroned the new Primate, as Archbishop of England by bringing him to the marble throne of the 13th century. The vocalization of his enthronement speech followed, in which he highlighted the contribution of the Church of England to the British society by offering food to the poor, shelter to the homeless and through education. The ceremony was highlighted with the participation of an African group that presented songs and dances of the African continent.
The evening of the same day the new Archbishop hosted dinner for the guests. The next day he received a separate honorary hearing from Christian and other delegations. During the meeting with the delegations of Orthodox Churches wishes were exchanged and discussion was held on the ongoing dialogue between the Orthodox and Anglican Church and its agenda.