Papal visit to celebrate 200th anniversary of All Saints' Anglican Church.
Pope Francis will make an historic visit to All Saints’ Anglican Church on Via del Babuino on 26 February to mark the 200th anniversary of the foundation of Rome's Anglican parish community.
The pope – the first pontiff to visit an Anglican church in his diocese of Rome – will join the All Saints' congregation for a choral evensong service which will include the blessing of specially-commissioned icon.
The event will also see the twinning of All Saints with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti, a church with strong ecumenical connections, located in the capital's Appia Nuova district.
Another significant occasion is scheduled on 13 March when Choral Evensong will be held in St Peter's Basilica, sung by the choir of Merton College Oxford. The service will be led by Archbishop David Moxon, the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See.
The All Saints' visit by Pope Francis follows his participation last October in events marking the Golden Jubilee of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations and the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
The celebrations included a deeply symbolic service at the church of S. Gregorio al Celio, led jointly by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis, which saw the Sistine Chapel Choir singing together with the choir of Canterbury Cathedral for the first time.
Rome’s first formal gathering for Anglican worship took place on 27 October 1816 when Jerseyman Corbert Hue became the first Anglican priest to officiate publicly in the Eternal City, in rooms at Via dei Greci 43.
Until then – during the centuries following the Reformation – Anglican worship in Italy had been impossible, except in a handful of protected enclaves. However, after Pope Pius VII granted permission to conduct public Anglican worship in Rome, the first Morning Prayer and Holy Communion were said, in English, near Piazza Colonna on 29 December 1816.
The location for Anglican worship in the city changed over the subsequent decades, until the founding of the Victorian neo-Gothic style All Saints’ Anglican Church in 1886.
Today All Saints' – which was recently granted legal recognition from the Italian state – is led by its chaplain, The Rev’d Canon Jonathan Boardman, and assistant chaplain, The Rev’d Dana English.
For more details about All Saints', including its ongoing fund-raising efforts, see website.