On March 13, Anglican choral Evensong will be celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican for the first time.
Permission was granted by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, during a recent meeting with Archbishop David Moxon, the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
Archbishop Moxon will preside at the 3pm service, while the preacher will be Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican. The music will be sung by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford.
In a statement, the Anglican Centre in Rome said “the gesture reflects the deepening bonds of affection and trust between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.”
The Evensong comes five months after Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby celebrated Vespers together at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio to mark the Anglican Centre’s fiftieth anniversary.
This date has been chosen as the nearest available day to the historic feast day of St Gregory the Great, who has become an unofficial patron of relations between the two churches.