Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual head of the Church of England establishment, is set to make a 10-day visit to India.
Invited by the United Churches of North and South India, Welby, 63, will be accompanied by his wife and will travel across Kottayam, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Medak, Jabalpur, Kolkata and Amritsar from August 31 to September 10.
Talking about the forthcoming visit, the Archbishop said, “My prayer is that this visit will first and foremost provide opportunities for me to pray with local Christians; secondly, I want to listen to the stories of local people, to hear the joys and challenges they face in their daily life; and, finally, I am looking forward to visiting key places of worship and significance.”
Welby added that India has a long and distinguished Christian history going back as early as the first century and he was looking forward to learning from the Church in India and sharing in their worship.
The Archbishop’s visit is a pastoral and not political one, stated Church of England leaders, and will continue from his Sri Lanka trip, where he will express “solidarity” with Christians who were targeted in a series of bombings during Easter which killed over 250 people.
Welby’s visit comes on the heels of a report earlier this month by the bishop of Truro commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that listed alleged attacks against Christians in India.