Archbishop Bernard, the recently retired Primate of Burundi, replaces Archbishop David Moxon, also a former Primate of the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Bernard is the first person from the African continent to fulfill the role.
The ceremony took place at Evensong at the Oratory of San Francesco Saverio del Caravita (the church of St Francis Xavier). The Archbishop of Canterbury presided, and the preacher was Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States. As a further mark of the importance of this occasion, the service was attended by the Archbishop of Birmingham, Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Roman Catholic Co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC).
Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi said: “Although I have been in Rome since the summer, and have had the pleasure of meeting a number of my Vatican counterparts, this formal event will be a public recognition of my intention to continue the work of the dedicated men who have held this post before me. I would like to strengthen those areas, especially in peace building, where the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church can work together for a common witness so that the world may believe and God glorified.”
Recognising the importance of this role, the Archbishop of Canterbury said before the ceremony: “I am personally delighted that Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi has agreed to take up the joint post of Archbishop’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and am very much looking to conducting his installation at Evensong on 26th October.
“The appointment of a former Primate to this post for the second time running demonstrates the importance I attach to developing the increasingly close relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.
“Archbishop Bernard has played an immensely valuable role in the life of the Anglican Communion for many years both as a bishop and more recently as a Primate. He also brings extensive ecumenical experience in Burundi, in the Anglican Communion and in the life of the World Council of Churches. I wish him every blessing in his new role.”
Archbishop Bernard Longley said: “The appointment of Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi to the joint post of Archbishop’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome is excellent news. I had the pleasure of meeting him recently in Rome, together with his predecessor Archbishop David Moxon, and I know that he will be a great asset in the role.
“I am delighted to have the chance to work alongside him moving forward. The close relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church continues to develop and prosper and this appointment enhances our commitment to one another. I am sure that the installation ceremony at Evensong will be a most joyous celebration and I shall pray for the Archbishop and his wife, Mathilde as they settle into their new home.”