Justin Welby becomes Archbishop of Canterbury

A ceremony was held to confirm the new Archbishop of Canterbury in his role

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The new Archbishop of Canterbury says he is standing by the Church of England's opposition to the proposed introduction of gay marriage.

The archbishop spoke after being confirmed into the role in a legal ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral.

He replaced Lord Williams, 62, who held the post for 10 years.

MPs vote on legalising gay weddings on Tuesday, but the Most Reverend Justin Welby says he has "no idea" how the vote will go.

Speaking about the vote, the 57-year-old archbishop said: "I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England's position on this.

"We have made many statements about this and I stick with that."

Church of England bishops have previously issued a statement which was highly critical of government proposals to introduce gay marriage.

Start Quote

Archbishop Justin Welby brings many gifts to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury”

End Quote John Sentamu Archbishop of York

The office of archbishop was conferred on Archbishop Welby, terminating his former role as Bishop of Durham, in the ceremony known as the Confirmation of Election.

His enthronement as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury takes place at Canterbury Cathedral in March.

His appointment to the most senior post in the Church of England was announced in November. Lord Williams stepped down in December.

The Confirmation of Election ceremony was presided over by Archbishop of York, John Sentamu and attended by the bishops of Norwich, Leicester, Lincoln, Rochester, Winchester, Salisbury and London.

Dr Sentamu, who preached at the service, said: "Archbishop Justin Welby brings many gifts to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury.

"He has my prayers and my support as he assumes this challenging role in the service of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion worldwide."

St Paul's Cathedral The ceremony was held in St Paul's Cathedral in London
Family prayers

The new archbishop took the oath of allegiance to the Queen during the ceremony, and made a formal written declaration of assent to his election as Archbishop of Canterbury.

The service at St Paul's also heard prayers for Archbishop Welby, his wife Caroline and their five children, that they might find "joy" in their new home.

Aside from the issue of same-sex marriage, Archbishop Welby takes the post as the Church wrestles with other controversial issues such as the consecration of women bishops.

He has said it is a time for "optimism and for faith" in the Church.

"The Church will certainly get things wrong, I certainly will get things wrong. We will also get much right and do so already," he said following the announcement of his appointment last year.

He was first ordained in 1992, having spent 11 years working in the oil industry before turning his back on a successful career to study theology at Durham.

He had only been a bishop for just over a year when he was chosen to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

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