Anglicans Join the Rome Millennium Preparations with New Centre

 — Feb. 17, 199917 févr. 1999

by J M Rosenthal, Anglican Communion News Service

[ROME] While the Roman Catholic Church and Rome itself have been busy with massive campaigns of refurbishment of their great shrines, including St Peters, so too has the Anglican Centre in Rome been totally transformed.

Fund-raising and awareness building programmes have been a huge success and the Centre now finds itself in the midst of the splendour of the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in the heart of the Eternal City. Rome is expecting millions of visitors in 2000, marking the Jubilee and the Holy Year and now Anglicans can be even more proud of their presence in Rome.

The weekend of February 12-14 brought nearly 300 guests from around the Anglican Communion to join the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, in dedicatory celebrations. Present were representatives of the Vatican including Cardinal Cassidy, a speaker at last summers Lambeth Conference, who read a personal letter of congratulations from Pope John Paul II.

Activities were planned by Canon Richard Marsh of the Archbishops staff and Canon David Hamid of the Anglican Communion staff. References were repeatedly made of a major Anglican/Roman Catholic gathering in Canada in the year 2000 and the publication of the new Anglican Roman Catholic International Consultations (ARCIC) document The Gift of Authority, to be published by the Anglican Book Centre, Toronto for Communion-wide distribution.

Outgoing ARCIC chairperson, Bishop Mark Santer, praised Canon Bruce Ruddock, director of the ACR, and Vivien Ruddock, administrator, in their perseverance in keeping the concerns of the Centre alive in the eyes of the Communion. New ARCIC chairperson, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, in a letter of congratulations, called the Centre, a place of welcome and hospitality, openness and for Roman Catholics and Anglicans to encounter one another as friends, and to learn from our theological and structural differences.

In recognition of the outstanding service of both Canon Bruce and Vivien Ruddock, the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded them both the medal of St Augustine, never before presented to a husband and wife.

Canon Ruddock, speaking of the work of the Centre and ARCIC, said, Were here to remind people of what has already been agreed and to hold that up so we don t go backward.

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon John Peterson, was quick to acknowledge the role of so many around the Communion that had high hopes for the success of the Anglican Centre.

In his remarks at the Centres reception in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Archbishop Carey said, The Centre has been a place for learning and discussion, a place where eyes are opened and enthusiasm for Christian Unity kindled. The Archbishop praised the late Don Frank Pogson Doria Pamphilj for their generosity and friendship to the work of the Anglican Centre.

Archbishop Carey also reminded the guests of the words of Archbishop Michael Ramsey at the initial dedication in 1966. The late Archbishop said at that time, The Anglican Communion cherishes the Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Creeds. In history, it values the lessons of the Reformation of the 16th century, and it values no less the continuity which it claims with the ancient Church. In spirituality, it learns from saints and teachers of its own, whilst it also tries to learns from saints and teachers of every period in the West and in the East. In theology, it learns from the Scriptures, the ancient fathers and the liturgy, while it strives to use whatever light is shed by modern knowledge upon the understanding of man and the world. The Anglican student is often indebted to writers within the Roman Catholic Church. This Centre is an attempt to repay the debt by making available the resources of Anglican learning to anyone who will come and enjoy them. Archbishop Carey commented I do not think the vision has changed. Since 1966 the library, the dream of Bishop of Ripon John Moorman, has doubled in size.

Archbishop Carey paid a personal visit to Pope John Paul II where he presented the Pope with a large Canterbury Cross. In the spirit of ecumenism, Archbishop Carey addressed a thousand people at the St Egidio community, known for their work among the poor and marginalised as well as their organised work to alleviate world poverty and injustice. He was greeted by thunderous applause.

On Sunday morning the Archbishop preached at one of Romes two Anglican churches, All Saints Parish. Here, the Sunday school presented him with a book of cards for his young grandson Edward who is recovering from heart surgery in England. The Episcopal Church of St Pauls, also in the heart of Rome, has an enthusiastic congregation and priests. St Pauls houses an important refugee centre and is known for the beauty of its mosaics.

During his time in Rome Archbishop Carey had a meeting with President Mary McAleese of Ireland at the Anglican Centre.

The Anglican Centre offers continuing education opportunities for clergy and laity alike and its director serves as a personal link of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Its purpose includes articulation of Anglicanism to Roman Catholics and to interpret Roman Catholicism to Anglicans from all parts of the world.

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