Archbishop Justin Welby 'excited' about being enthroned in Canterbury

(Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury's Website)

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says he is "extremely pleased and excited about" about being enthroned today in Canterbury.

"The Diocese of Canterbury is a place where the Archbishop can be grounded and refreshed," said Welby, writing in the Canterbury Times on Thursday.

"But perhaps more importantly, Canterbury is also where the Archbishop can do his work as a priest and a bishop – work which remains absolutely vital. Having this close connection to Canterbury and its people is something I am looking forward to enormously."

Welby, a former oil executive, will begin his public ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury today. Although the ceremony is his inauguration into his position, the event is known as "enthronement" because the Archbishop will be enthroned in two seats: one on the Diocesean throne as the Bishop of the Church of England's oldest diocese, the see of Canterbury, and the second on the chair of St. Augustine as Primate of All England and the "first bishop" in the country.

He will become the "first" bishop in the Britain and will be a spiritual leader of the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion.

Welby, who will be taking his oath at the Canterbury Cathedral, reflected on the importance of historic English City in southern east region of England.

"Canterbury has been on a unique and special journey for centuries now. Recently it has thrived under the leadership of the Bishop of Dover – and it continues to evolve into what God is calling it to be," wrote Welby.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was looking to working together with the churches and "being immersed in the life of this ancient diocese.

"I'm sure I will learn a great deal from you, and I'm looking forward to spending time with you in the months and years ahead."

Ahead of his enthronement, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu called on people to join him in praying for Welby with the following prayer:

"May God, who anointed the Christ with the Holy Spirit at His baptism, anoint and empower Archbishop Justin to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, to set free those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

"May the Lord keep him in the joy, simplicity and compassion of His Holy Gospel. Amen."

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