The Confirmation of Election took place at a ceremony on Monday 4th February 2013 at 12 noon at a Service held in St Paul’s Cathedral in London. At the end of the Service, the former Bishop of Durham became the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan.
During the Confirmation service, the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, confirmed to an episcopal commission that the Archbishop-elect had been elected according to statute and custom. The ceremony of Confirmation formed part of the process by which the appointment of the new Archbishop
of Canterbury was effected, and was attended by the Archbishop of York and the bishops of Norwich, Leicester, Lincoln, Rochester, Winchester, Salisbury, and London.
Archbishop Justin’s Enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral will follow on Thursday, 21st March 2013, when he will be placed in the diocesan throne in the Cathedral Quire, and in the Chair of St Augustine by the Dean of Canterbury. On the following Saturday, 23rd March, there will be a Diocesan welcome which will be much less formal than the Enthronement service but just as full of joy and excitement; and then Holy Week will begin with Palm Sunday, leading to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – the high point of the Church’s year. What a wonderful start for a new ministry as Archbishop!
The Enthronement Service itself is involving many hours of preparation and practice. The BBC will be busy in and around the Cathedral from the 11th March rigging cameras and cables for the live broadcast on the 21st March. The form of the Service will be crafted by the Dean in consultation with the new Archbishop. For many of the Cathedral team, this will be their first Enthronement of an Archbishop. However, David Flood, the Cathedral Organist and Master of the Choristers, has been closely involved with every Enthronement since that of Archbishop Runcie in 1980; so he will remain an oasis of calm. One of the special highlights of the Enthronement will be the presence of the Canterbury Gospels, which are believed to have been brought to England by St Augustine in 597; they are now kept in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College
Cambridge and are taken out of the library only on very rare occasions.
The 21st March is, in the calendar of the Book of Common Prayer, the feast of St Benedict, an appropriate one for Canterbury which was a Benedictine foundation for 1,000 years; and, in the modern calendar, it is the date when the Church of England commemorates Archbishop Thomas Cranmer who is best known for having written the first English Prayer Book. It will also be the first day of Spring – a sign of new growth.
The Enthronement will be broadcast live on BBC 2 at 14:30 on Thursday 21st March 2013.