Archbishop Williams in Istanbul” “

On 17 November, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, met His Holiness Bartholomew I in the course of an official visit to Istanbul and to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. “It’s important for me – said Williams – to be able to be here in my first year as archbishop. This visit is intended to be a sign of my commitment and that of the Anglican Communion to the full and visible unity of the Church of Christ, and it is a source of joy for me to be able to follow my predecessors in this pilgrimage to the ecumenical Patriarchate”. Although he did not explicitly mention the consecration in the USA of the homosexual bishop Robinson and the reactions it has caused both inside and outside the Anglican Communion, Williams spoke of the “current difficulties” and expressed the hope that the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Churches may “continue to grow together in love and friendship”, concluding that “what unites us is far more” than what divides us. In the course of his visit to Istanbul, the archbishop visited one of the two synagogues struck by the recent terrorist bomb blasts. Speaking outside the “Neve Shalom” synagogue, Williams said: “This is a blow to the heart. In a place where the relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians are good and the cooperation between them is close, an attack on the synagogue is an attack on every Muslim, Jew and Christian”. “I am sure – he added – that this tragedy will make the religious communities even closer to each other and that hatred has no chance of flourishing here”. Williams concluded by saying he has brought with him from England a personal message from the chief rabbi in England, Jonathan Sacks, to the Jewish community in Istanbul”.

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