Anglican leader due in Jordan

23-06-2013 02:49 PM

Ammon News - AMMAN (Jordan Times) — The leader of the world's Anglicans is scheduled to visit Jordan as part of a five-day visit to the region, which starts on Sunday, his office said.

The tour will also include Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Agence France-Presse reported.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Church of England, is to meet with religious leaders, visit holy sites and see community projects, said Lambeth Palace.

It will be his first visit to the Holy Land since his enthronement in March as leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans, AFP reported from London.

The trip comes after Welby visited Rome on June 14 and met with Pope Francis for the first time, amid efforts to reconcile Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

"Archbishop Justin is making this trip early in his ministry because of the significance of the region, the importance of the relationships that his office has there, and because he is keenly aware of the particular pressures on the region at the moment — not least the devastating conflict in Syria, and its impact more widely," Lambeth Palace said in a statement.

In occupied Jerusalem, he will visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Al Haram Al Sharif — known to Jews as the Temple Mount, as well as Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

He will also meet with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, patriarchs and church leaders.

The archbishop will be staying with Suheil Dawani, the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, who will accompany him on all his visits there, according to AFP.

In Cairo, Welby will meet Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt's Coptic Church, and Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayeb, the grand imam of Al Azhar, the top Sunni Muslim authority.

Born in 1956 in London, Welby was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law, according to the archbishop's official website.

On November 9, 2012, Welby was announced as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

He officially became archbishop on February 4, 2013, succeeding Rowan Williams, who retired at the end of December 2012.

The new archbishop was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21, 2013, according to the website.

In February 2010, Williams visited the Baptism Site in Jordan, where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist according to Christian beliefs, laying the cornerstone for an Anglican church there.

In remarks to The Jordan Times at the time, Williams stressed the importance of encouraging Christians from across the world to regularly visit the Baptism Site and perform pilgrimages so that the church, along with others built on the banks of the Jordan River by various denominations, is maintained as a house of worship.

He also lauded initiatives taken in the Kingdom to boost interfaith relations, adding that good relations exist between Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Britain.

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