Meeting the Archishop of Canterbury

Ecumenical relations formed a key part of the first Papal trip to Britain more than 400 years since the Reformation. Canterbury Cathedral was the focus on day two of the visit for a historical meeting between the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. People broke into spontaneous applause as the two spiritual leaders entered by the West door. They knelt together in prayer at the Nave Altar. Dr Runcie summed up the sense of history surrounding the meeting: “I rejoice that the successors of Gregory and Augustine stand here today in the church which is built on their partnership in the Gospel.” Unity was the focus of Pope John Paul II's words which followed those present renewing their baptismal vows: "We intend to perform this ritual, which we share in common as Anglicans and Catholics, as a clear testimony to the one sacrament of Baptism by which we have been joined to Christ."


Homily at the ecumenical celebration in Canterbury Cathedral, 29 May 1982

The passages which Archbishop Runcie and I have just read are taken from the Gospel according to John and contain the words of our Lord Jesus Christ on the eve of his Passion. While he was at supper with his disciples, he prayed: “that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John. 17, 21).

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