The outgoing chair of governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome has been awarded the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bishop Stephen Platten received the award in recognition of his three decades of service to the Centre and to the wider ecumenical movement. The Centre is home to the Archbishop’s personal representative to the Holy See.
Bishop Stephen has been chair of governors there for 15 years. He steps down at the end of 2018. His successor is Bishop Michael Burrows – the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory in the Church of Ireland.
In its citation, Lambeth Palace said, “Bishop Stephen Platten has been involved at a deep level with ecumenical relations during his long ministry alongside his significant and important ministry within the Church of England.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury concluded, “There can be no doubt that Stephen Platten is a worthy recipient of this award.”
Bishop Stephen spoke of his surprise at the decision.
“I was absolutely delighted and honoured to receive the award,” he said. “I have been committed to the unity of our churches throughout my life and I am utterly committed to the work of the Centre. I am very grateful for the honour and my hope is that it might further raise the profile of the Centre as it develops and prospers in the future.”
The Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism is awarded for outstanding contributions to ecumenical work in support of the Church of England. Bishop Stephen, a former Bishop of Wakefield in northern England, has worked as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs as well as the Co-Secretary of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
Bishop Stephen was also presented with a gift by the ACR’s Director, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi – a print of an illustration from the Codex Amiatinus, the earlier complete Bible, which was written and illustrated in north-east England before AD 716. The illustration depicts the Scribe Ezra writing a manuscript sat in front of a bookcase.
Bishop Michael said he was honoured to be invited to become the next chair of governors.
“For many years I have admired its vital and fruitful work and I have been personally enriched by through participation in courses and events there,” he said.
“The Centre is renowned as a place of learning, hospitality and presence – a veritable ‘embassy’ for Anglicanism in the heart of Rome. It will be a privilege to make a contribution to its governance and to follow in the footsteps of Bishop Stephen Platten whose total commitment has ensured the wellbeing and high profile of the ACR over very many years.”
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), November 21, 2018