The Most Rev. David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, writes on the centre’s weblog:
Last night Archbishop Gennadios and I were invited by Pope Francis to share in the giving of the Pontifical Blessing.
This took place in front of the 3,000-strong congregation at the Papal Basilica of St Paul’s outside the Walls, the venue for the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Rome. We were called to the side of the Papal Throne and he said “let’s share this together.” He received his papal pastoral staff, began the prayer and raised his hand. Archbishop Gennadios (the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch) and I raised our hands also. It was incredibly moving to be part of what (I think) was an unprecedented invitation, which said far more even than the words which were actually recited.
This invitation suggested that the blessing of God and the grace of God flow through our diversity in this moment of unity. It would be wrong to read too much into what happened, but in the minutes that followed the conclusion of the service, it was the talk of the evening. To me it seems a very poignant, unforgettable, and evocative sign of our essential unity in baptism and of our desire to share the blessings of God whenever there is opportunity; to bless and be blessed because we belong to the Church of the Triune God, which is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.