LONDON (AFP) — The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will on Wednesday become the first Anglican leader to visit the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes, his office said.
The Church of England chief will preach at the International Mass at the invitation of the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Monsignor Jacques Perrier, Williams's Lambeth Palace said in a statement.
His appearance coincides with the 150th anniversary celebrations at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, in the southwestern French town, of what Catholics believe were apparitions of the Virgin Mary to French peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous.
Along with his address at the International Mass, celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Williams will also take part in a pilgrimage of bishops, clergy and laity of the Church of England.
Pope Benedict XVI visited Lourdes, one of the world's most revered Christian shrines in the foothills of the Pyrenees, earlier this month and held a mass for the sick there.
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