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Archbishop of Canterbury to attend Pope's funeral

Tuesday 5th April 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has accepted an official invitation to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome on Friday. He will be the first serving Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a Pope's funeral.

An invitation was received through the Papal Nuncio; Dr Williams said he was 'pleased and honoured' to accept.

Dr Williams has confirmed that he will be wearing the ring presented to his predecessor, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, by Pope Paul VI.

Dr Williams will travel to Rome on Thursday; he will be accompanied by the Revd Andrew Norman, Archbishop's Secretary for International and Ecumenical Affairs and by Mr Jeremy Harris, Archbishop's Secretary for Public Affairs.

The Archbishop will return to the UK on Friday evening.

Notes for editors:

The Archbishop visited Pope John Paul II in the autumn of 2003.

Dr Williams will be wearing the ring presented by Pope Paul VI to Archbishop Michael Ramsey. The ring had been the gift of the people of Milan to the Pope and was given to Archbishop Ramsey personally by the Pope during their meeting in 1966. Dr Williams will also be wearing a pectoral Cross given to him by Pope John Paul II.

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