The Vatican is loaning the ivory handle of a crozier to the Anglican Cathedral in Canterbury. The staff is a “highly symbolic” relic and a “mark of the bond that spiritually unites the Catholic and the Anglican churches” according to the Vatican’s culture minister, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.
Cardinal Ravasi said: “Allow me at this point to congratulate you on the highly symbolic value of the loan of this relic, dear to the Church of England, which venerates Pope St Gregory
According to a letter obtained by the Associated Press,Cardinal Ravasi authorized the loan of Saint Gregory’s pastoral staff last month. The crozier used by the deceased Pope Gregory is to be exhibited in the Anglican Cathedral this month.
The staff was used to help buildup a foundation of Christianity in England during the 6th century.The staff is usually housed in a safe in the San Gregorio Monastery, Rome. For the purpose of the gathering it will be placed in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, where the Primates will meet to pray each day. It will also be showcased to the public at the weekend, before being flown back to Rome under strict security regulations.
The loan of the crozier-head stipulates the seriousness with regards to these talk, beyond the scope of the Anglican Communion. The Procurator-general of the Missionary Society of St Columban, Fr Robert initiated talks on loaning the Ivory handle to the Anglicans.In an interview he said this week: “This venerable object places these talks in their historical context. And I hope that it assists the Anglican Primates to view the issues and questions of the present from the perspective of the common origin of our Christian faith.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called a meeting with the 37 primates to converse about the unity of the Communion after fighting for years over issues such as the ordination of female and gay bishops and the blessings of same-sex marriage.
The dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Rev. Robert Willis said: “the loan of Gregory’s crozier was a sign of “ecumenical encouragement” during the primates’ meeting, as well as a link to Gregory”.
The crozier handle will be exhibited in the Canterbury Crypt from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jan. 9 and 16, and from noon to 2 p.m. on Jan. 10 and 17.
Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Robert Willis said: “We are very pleased to receive the crozier as a symbol of ecumenical encouragement at this time of the meeting of Anglican Primates and as a link with St Gregory whose vision of the conversion of England caused Augustine to found the community at Canterbury.”