It was a historic week which started with a special Service in San Gregorio, Rome to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the Camaldolese Benedictine Order, attended by both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope where a gift made by Cathedral craftsmen was presented, and ended with the announcement that the Archbishop would be resigning from his role at the end of the year.
A Canterbury cross crafted in Caen stone by senior stonemason Steve Manuel and placed in a box of Douglas Fir edged in Sapele made by one of our carpenters, Hillary van de Benderskum took centre stage at the special Service in San Gregorio.
The spectacular gift weighed in at an impressive 8 kilos and Canon Ed Condry had the task of transporting it from Canterbury to Rome. ‘I took it as hand luggage as I didn’t want to risk it getting lost en-route and fortunately we both got there safely and in one piece! It was then presented to the Prior and placed on a gold pillar in front of the altar at the Service of Solemn Vespers in which the Archbishop and the Pope presided. Everyone was delighted and very impressed with the fine workmanship of both the cross and the box and it will be placed on the wall of St Gregory’s cell which is a great honour,’ said Canon Condry. ‘The monks were very welcoming and deeply appreciative of the gift and are keen to maintain and develop the links with Canterbury’.
Well done to Steve and Hillary for their craftsmanship and being part of this truly historic occasion.
It has since become apparent how historic this occasion was, as six days later, Archbishop Rowan announced his intention to resign as Archbishop of Canterbury meaning that this may have been his last public service of worship with the Pope.
The whole community at Canterbury Cathedral would like to publicly thank Rowan Williams for his ten years of devoted service as Archbishop and wish him and Jane every joy and success in his future role as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.