Wednesday 29th May 2024
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Archbishop of Canterbury at his enthronement

A Tamil girl from Canterbury, England, a young member of the Anglican Communion, was given the honour of greeting the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury at his enthronement on the 21st March 2013.

This was Evangeline Kanagasooriam, an academic and music scholar at the King’s School, standing less than forty feet from the font where she had been baptised 17 years ago.

Following the traditional three knocks, the great west doors of the cathedral opened to frame Justin standing in silence his hands in front of him grasping his bishop’s staff. Standing in front of him was the slim figure of a dark haired girl in a green sari. She asked him: "Who are you and why do you request entry?"

"I am Justin, A servant of Jesus Christ, and I come seeking the grace of God, to travel with you in his service together."

Watched by 2,000 people including dignitaries such as Prince Charles and prime minister David Cameron, the 57-year-old Rev Justin Welby was enthroned to lead the 77 million strong Anglican Communion across the globe. Rrepresentatives of major world religions including Muslims, Jews and Sikhs and senior figures from the Roman Catholic and orthodox churches were present.

A lovely hymn by the Tamil writer D.T.Niles of Sri Lanka, ‘Saranam, Saranam, Saranam" was sung in the service. A Tamil evangelist and minister of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka, Daniel Thambyrajah Niles served as president of the East Asia Christ¬ian Conference. On the death of Martin Luther King, he was elected to the presidium of the World Council of Churches. He was a strong advocate of Protestant ecumenism in Asia.

After his enthronement, lithe young African men danced in front of the Archbishop singing an African hymn "Gbeh Kpa Kpa Ba" – or "A New Beginning". The service had a strong African theme to represent Welby’s connection to the continent whilst working as an oil executive.

Photos courtesy of the BBC. More can be viewed here: