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Edwardtide Evensong attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster

Monday, 19th October 2009

Edwardtide Evensong attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, gave a joint blessing at the end of an Edwardtide Evensong in Westminster Abbey.

During the 5pm Evensong last Friday, 16th October 2009, the two archbishops and the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, prayed together at the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor and both archbishops censed the saint’s tomb.

The service was sung by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, under the direction of James O’Donnell, the Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, and Martin Baker, the Cathedral’s Master of Music. Robert Quinney, the Abbey’s Sub-Organist, accompanied the service. The voluntary was played by Matthew Martin, the Cathedral’s Assistant Master of Music.

For many years, during the Abbey’s annual celebration in October of the Octave of the Translation of Saint Edward the Confessor, the choir and clergy of Westminster Cathedral have visited the Abbey and sung Evensong together with the Abbey choir. This has been matched in recent years by a joint Vespers at the Cathedral during May when the Abbey choir sings with the Cathedral choir at the Cathedral.

This was Archbishop Nichols’ first formal occasion at the Abbey since his installation as 11th Archbishop of Westminster. Archbishop Nichols was accompanied by his four auxiliary bishops and 15 members of the cathedral Chapter, in addition to the administrator and chaplains of the Cathedral.

In his welcome, the Dean said, ‘We are united tonight in the worship of almighty God. My earnest prayer is that, as God in Christ draws us closer to himself, so we shall be drawn closer to each other, that indeed we may all be “one in him, that the world might believe.”’ In his reply, the Archbishop of Westminster, recalling the visit to Westminster Cathedral of the relics of St Theresa of Lisieux, spoke of the significance of the relics of St Edward the Confessor and the importance of prayer in the Christian and ecumenical journey.

See also

Order of Service (PDF, 205KB)


The Dean's Welcome

On behalf of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster it is a pleasure to welcome all who join us for worship. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This week is a special time here, in which particularly: we give thanks to almighty God for the life and ministry of St Edward the Confessor; we come as pilgrims into the presence of his relics in our midst; and at his shrine we ask for his heavenly encouragement and intercession.

It is always a delight to welcome as our guest to this holy place the Archbishop of Canterbury, through whose priestly, pastoral and prophetic ministry under God we have been greatly blessed. Your Grace, thank you for being with us. From the special significance of your presence we all draw warmth and encouragement.

This year, as for many years past, it is good to welcome the administrator and chaplains, with the choir of Westminster Cathedral to sing the Evening Office with the Abbey choir, and tonight also to welcome the Provost and Chapter of Westminster Cathedral.

It is above all a pleasure this evening to welcome the Archbishop of Westminster. Your Grace, you are no stranger to the Abbey. Now you come as a beloved neighbour and friend and carry with you all the significance of your new ministry.

Two recent Deans of Westminster had the privilege of welcoming here your two immediate predecessors as Archbishop. In 1976, the future Cardinal Hume in his reply referred to Pope Paul VI’s words at the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs, when he looked forward to “the Roman Catholic Church [being] able to embrace her ever beloved Sister [the Anglican Church] in the one authentic communion of the family of Christ.” But this would not come about, he said, “unless we pray, and pray earnestly.”

We are united tonight in the worship of almighty God. My earnest prayer is that, as God in Christ draws us closer to himself, so we shall be drawn closer to each other, that indeed we may all be “one in him, that the world might believe.”

Your Grace, we welcome you.

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It’s a privilege to live and work here – the Abbey really is the heart of the country and its history.

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Martin - The Dean’s Verger

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