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Rowan Williams - 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, south Wales on 14 June 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor School in Swansea and Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate – in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought – at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.

From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained priest in 1978, and from 1980 as curate at St George's, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the university, and the following year became dean and chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.

In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. Thus it was that, in July 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.

As Archbishop of Canterbury his principal responsibilities were pastoral – leading the life and witness of the Church of England in general and his own diocese in particular by his teaching and oversight, and promoting and guiding the communion of the world-wide Anglican Church by the globally recognized ministry of unity that attaches to the office of bishop of the see of Canterbury.

Dr Williams' interests include music, fiction and languages.  He is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher, and he has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics.. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, as archbishop, turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues.

In 1981 Dr Williams married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a daughter and a son.

Chronology

Christ's College, Cambridge B.A. 1971. M.A. 1975 Wadham College, Oxford, D.Phil 1975 College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, 1975 Deacon 1977, Priest 1978 Tutor, Westcott House, Cambridge 1977-1980 Honorary Curate, Chesterton St George, Ely 1980-1983 Lecturer in Divinity, Cambridge 1980-1986 Dean and Chaplain, Clare College, Cambridge 1984-1986 Canon Theologian, Leicester Cathedral 1981-1982 Canon Residentiary, Christ Church, Oxford 1986-1992 Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford 1986-1992 Doctor of Divinity 1989 Fellow, British Academy 1990

Episcopal Offices

Bishop of Monmouth

Elected Bishop of Monmouth on 5 December 1991, Rowan Williams was consecrated at St Asaph Cathedral on the feast of St Philip and St James, 1 May 1992 and was enthroned at St Woolos Cathedral on 14 May, 1992.

Archbishop of Wales

Rowan Williams was elected Archbishop of Wales in December 1999 and was enthroned at St Woolos Cathedral on Saturday 26th February, 2000.

Archbishop of Canterbury

Elected as Archbishop of Canterbury on 23 July 2002.

Confirmed as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury on 2 December 2002 in St Paul's Cathedral, London.

Enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury on 27 February 2003 in Canterbury Cathedral.

At the end of 2012 he stepped down to move to a new role as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.