Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon awarded the Cross of St Augustine
Friday 21st June 2013Archbishop Justin praised the Anglican Bishop of Kaduna for his devotion to Christian-Muslim dialogue
The Archbishop of Canterbury with the Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon. 20 June 2013. (Picture: Lambeth Palace)
The Most Revd Josiah, the Anglican Bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), received the Cross of St Augustine from at Lambeth Palace yesterday.
Presenting the award, Archbishop Justin said he was "delighted" to give Archbishop Josiah the Cross "in recognition of his outstanding ministry in promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue in Nigeria and across the world."
The Most Revd Josiah, who has a doctorate in Islamic Studies, has devoted his ministry to promoting inter-faith relations.
"He has worked indefatigably on Christian-Muslim relations, displaying extraordinary courage and vision in often the most difficult of circumstances," said the Archbishop, who gave Archbishop Josiah the Cross during a Eucharist in the Crypt Chapel at Lambeth Palace.
Archbishop Josiah, who co-founded the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christianity in Kaduna, is "an inspiration" to many Christians and faith leaders across the Anglican Communion, said Archbishop Justin.
"Through his work he continues to play a pivotal role in advancing understanding between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria in an effort to stem the cycle of violence and misunderstanding between the two faith groups," he said.
The Most Revd Josiah's work in this area extends beyond Nigeria. He is a past President of the Network for Inter Faith Concerns, and continues to be a member of its management team. He is Chair of of the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA), and is a member of the Religious Advisory Council of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
Also in attendance at the service were Archbishop Edmund Akanya, the Archbishop of Kaduna Province; Bishop Praises Omole-Ekun, Dean of the St Francis of Assisi Theological College; Dr Johnson Apenad Mbillah of PROCMURA), and John Cardinal Onaiyekan, whom Archbishop Justin prayed for during the Eucharist as a symbol of reconciliation between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
Born in 1949 in Nigeria, Archbishop Josiah trained briefly as a soldier before training as a priest and became ordained in 1971. He became a bishop in 1990.
About the Cross of St Augustine
The Cross of St Augustine was founded by Archbishop Michael Ramsey. It was first awarded by him on 19 February 1965. It is a circular medallion bearing a replica of the 8th Century Cross of Canterbury and on the reverse side is an engraving of the chair of St Augustine at Canterbury. The ribbon is of "Canterbury Blue" and it is worn around the neck by clergy and on the left breast by lay people.
This award has historically been awarded to clergy and lay people of foreign churches who have contributed conspicuously to advancing friendly relations with the churches of the Anglican Communion. More recently it has also been given for outstanding service within the Church of England whether centrally or in the dioceses, or the Anglican Communion as a whole, and to those who have contributed to advancing relations between the various Christian communions and churches.