Ecumenical leader attends Archbishop Justin Welby's enthronement

(Photo: Reuters / Gareth Fuller / Pool)The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sits in the Chair of St Augustine as the Dean of Canterbury Robert Willis takes him by the hand during his enthronement ceremony, in Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, southern England March 21, 2013.

On the heels of attending Pope Francis' inauguration in Rome, the World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit was in England to attend the enthronement of Archbishop Justin Welby Thursday.

Tveit offered his "heart-felt congratulations" and "profound prayers for his new ministry," according to a statement by WCC.

Welby was enthroned as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England, and spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion during a ceremony Thursday at the Canterbury Cathedral.

The Archbishop was installed on the Diocesan throne as the Bishop of the see of Canterbury, the oldest diocese in the Church of England.

He was then installed on the chair of St. Augustine as Primate of All England – the "first bishop" in the country.

The Church of England is a founding member of the WCC, an ecumenical fellowship of 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and Evangelical churches, representing 560 million Christians worldwide.

"We admire Archbishop Welby's commitment to lead the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our hope is that the Anglican tradition and communion of churches will continue to make significant contributions to the ecumenical movement, as they always have," said Tveit.

"On behalf of the WCC member churches, we look forward to working with Archbishop Welby to build upon our mutual relations, as well as strengthening our efforts for peace, justice, reconciliation and inter-religious dialogue."

Other ecumenical representatives at Archbishop Justin's inauguration included Archbishop Gregorios of Thyatiera and Great Britain; the Moderator of the Free Churches Group, Rev. Michael Heaney; and Metropolitan Hilarion, Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, came from the Vatican.

Welby, then Bishop of Durham, succeeded Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury in December 2012. He legally ended his role as the Bishop of Durham and assumed the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury on March 4.

The enthronement ceremony on Thursday represents the Archbishop's inauguration as the spiritual leader of the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion.

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