The newly-installed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit Pope Francis on 14 June, the Vatican has confirmed.
It will mark the first meeting between Pope Francis and the new head of the Church of England and spiritual head of the global Anglican Church.
The brief courtesy visit is expected to be “informal” but “important” according to a representative of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, whose president Cardinal Kurt Koch will meet and pray with Welby. The Archbishop of Canterbury is also expected to visit the tomb of Blessed John Paul II.
Pope Francis has made uniting Christian churches one the key priorities of his pontificate. Following his inaugural mass as pontiff, Francis spoke of his determination to pursue dialogue with other religions, in respect and friendship.
The visit of the new head of the Anglican Church comes just a few weeks after the arrival of the new director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop David Moxon, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See. The Anglican Centre promotes Christian Unity and is the Anglican Communion’s permanent presence in Rome.