by Matthew Davies
In an effort to forge closer links with the Roman Catholic Church, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and president of the Anglican Communion, began a three-day visit to Rome yesterday, which will include a meeting with Pope John Paul II on October 4.
Archbishop Rowan is being accompanied by his wife, Mrs Jane Williams, and representatives of the Anglican Communion, including Canon James M Rosenthal and the Revd Canon Gregory Cameron. Also present as a member of the Archbishop’s official party is the Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of the Diocese in Europe, who is responsible for overseeing the Anglican work in Rome.
During his visit the Archbishop will have talks with Cardinal Kasper and other members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as well as discussions with other Catholic representatives.
On Saturday morning, the Archbishop will visit the tomb of St Peter in the Vatican for a private time of prayer prior to his meeting with the Holy Father at 11am. During the afternoon he will attend Evensong at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, near the Pantheon, and a ceremony for the official installation of the new director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
Archbishop Williams will preside at a Eucharist at All Saints Anglican Church on Sunday morning, before returning to London.
This is Archbishop Williams' first visit to Pope John Paul II since he was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in February.