About Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, south Wales on 14 June 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor School in Swansea and Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate – in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought – at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.
From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained priest in 1978, and from 1980 as curate at St George's, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the university, and the following year became dean and chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.
In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. Thus it was that, in July 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.
Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics – as evidenced by his bibliography. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, since becoming archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues.
As Archbishop of Canterbury his principal responsibilities are however pastoral – leading the life and witness of the Church of England in general and his own diocese in particular by his teaching and oversight, and promoting and guiding the communion of the world-wide Anglican Church by the globally recognized ministry of unity that attaches to the office of bishop of the see of Canterbury.
His interests include music, fiction and languages.
In 1981 Dr Williams married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a daughter and a son.
Christ's College, Cambridge B.A. 1971. M.A. 1975
Wadham College, Oxford, D.Phil 1975
College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, 1975
Deacon 1977, Priest 1978
Tutor, Westcott House, Cambridge 1977-1980
Honorary Curate, Chesterton St George, Ely 1980-1983
Lecturer in Divinity, Cambridge 1980-1986
Dean and Chaplain, Clare College, Cambridge 1984-1986
Canon Theologian, Leicester Cathedral 1981-1982
Canon Residentiary, Christ Church, Oxford 1986-1992
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford 1986-1992
Doctor of Divinity 1989
Fellow, British Academy 1990
Bishop of Monmouth
Elected Bishop of Monmouth on 5 December 1991, Rowan Williams was consecrated at St Asaph Cathedral on the feast of St Philip and St James, 1 May 1992 and was enthroned at St Woolos Cathedral on 14 May, 1992.
Archbishop of Wales
Rowan Williams was elected Archbishop of Wales in December 1999 and was enthroned at St Woolos Cathedral on Saturday 26th February, 2000.
Archbishop of Canterbury
Elected as Archbishop of Canterbury on 23 July 2002.
Confirmed as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury on 2 December 2002 in St Paul's Cathedral, London.
Enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury on 27 February 2003 in Canterbury Cathedral.
At the end of 2012 he will step down and move to a new role as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Recent items relating to Rowan Williams are shown below.
Archbishop of Canterbury to be Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge
16 March 2012
Archbishop Rowan Williams has announced his acceptance of the position of Master of Magdalene College,…
Archbishop's interview with Press Association
16 March 2012
Archbishop Rowan Williams spoke to the Press Association following the announcement that he will step…
Archbishop awarded honorary doctorate
2 February 2011
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is one of four eminent scholars who today received honorary…
The Archbishop on his Journey of Faith
10 May 2009
Patrick Forbes' invites the Archbishop to discuss his ongoing walk with God for the 500th edition of…
Archbishop's New Statesman magazine interview
22 December 2008
The full text from James Macintyre's interview with Dr Rowan Williams - published in the 22 December…
Time Magazine Interview
18 June 2007
The Archbishop of Canterbury is on the front cover of the European and African editions of Time Magazine.…
The Guardian Interview
21 March 2006
Transcript of a wide-ranging interview given to Alan Rusbridger, for the Guardian newspaper. Topics covered…
Archbishop's Desert Island Discs
22 December 2002
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs programme…
Archbishop Rowan Williams confirmed in office as Archbishop of Canterbury
2 December 2002
Dr Williams officially took office as Archbishop of Canterbury in a legal ceremony known as the Confirmation…
Announcement of Dr Rowan Williams as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury
23 July 2002
10 Downing Street, the office of the UK Prime Minister, made the formal announcement of the appointment…