Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope in joint call for Christian unity

Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.(Photo: Vatican Media)

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis met in Rome this week where they issued a fresh call for Christian unity.

The call coincided with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held each year at the end of January.

The two Church leaders also commissioned Catholic and Anglican bishop pairs to be co-workers in the ministry of reconciliation and to be a witness to Christian unity.

This week the bishop pairs attended the 'Growing Together' programme encouraging closer co-operation between the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions.

Over the weekend they will travel to Canterbury and visit Christian sites together.

The Archbishop told the bishops, "May your ministry alongside one another as Catholics and Anglicans be for the world a foretaste of the reconciling of all Christians."

Pope Francis said, "Brothers and sisters, fourteen centuries ago, Pope Gregory the Great commissioned Saint Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and his companions, to set out from Rome to preach the joy of the Gospel to the peoples of England.

"Today, with gratitude to God for our sharing in the Gospel, we send you forth, beloved co-workers for the kingdom of God, so that wherever you carry out your ministry, you may together bear witness to the hope that does not deceive and the unity for which our Saviour prayed."