Anglican Choral Evensong was held in St Peter’s Basilica last Monday night with music from the choir of Merton College, Oxford. The service was led by Archbishop David Moxon, the director of the Anglican Center in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See. Gathered were bishops and clergy from both the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. Among them was the Revd Dana English, a chaplain from All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome. Pope Francis had himself visited All Saints’ just two weeks ago.
The service was viewed as another step in the closer relations between the two traditions. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Pope Francis had celebrated Vespers together at the Basilica of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill in OCT 2016. Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams had attended Lenten Vespers at St Gregory’s in MAR 2012.
The Most Revd Arthur Roche gave the sermon at last Monday’s Evensong service. Archbishop Roche is the Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Worship and the Sacraments. The Archbishop himself hails from Yorkshire. He preached about St Gregory the Great and his missionary zeal which prompted him to send Augustine as a missionary to England in 597.
The choir sang beloved Anglican hymns, works by William Byrd, as well as compositions by contemporary composers.
Facts for this story were gathered from the Anglican Communion News Service, where the photos were also published.