Archbishop of Canterbury joins Pope Francis for interfaith World Day of Prayer for Peace

Pope Francis meets the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Vatican. The pair will meet tomorrow at a World Day of Prayer in Assisi and then for more formal discussions in early October.Reuters

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby is travelling to Assisi in Italy for a World Day of Prayer for Peace hosted by Pope Francis tomorrow and attended by Christian leaders and representatives of other religions.

The inter-religious peace gathering was initiated by Pope John Paul II 30 years ago. At the event tomorrow, Pope Francis will meet with Archbishop Welby and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and stand alongside Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh leaders.

The event comes ahead of a more formal one-to-one meeting between the Archbishop and the Pope early next month. The pair are set to celebrate evening prayer together on 5 October at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio and then hold private talks at the Vatican the next day.

The San Gregorio al Celio church in Rome holds particular significance for Anglicans as it is said to be the place from which St Augustine of Canterbury was sent to evangelise Britain in 597 AD. The meeting between Welby and Pope Francis will be the fourth time an Archbishop of Canterbury has met with a pope at the church.

Pope Francis has already met Welby twice in the Vatican, the first time on June 14, 2013 and the second on June 16, 2014. At their most recent meeting, the pair discussed, among other subjects, human trafficking, tackling global poverty, peace and reconciliation and Christian unity.  

The Assisi gathering forms the start of what has been dubbed the Pope's "ecumenical autumn", which also sees him fly to the predominantly Orthodox nation of Georgia 10 days later and then to Sweden at the end of the month to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

The Pope is scheduled to be in Assisi for eight hours tomorrow. The sessions there will be streamed live here.