The Bishop of Mauritius, the Most Rev. Ian Ernest, will become director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See, toward the end of the year.
Abp. Ernest served as primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean for 11 years until 2017. One of his last duties as Bishop of Mauritius will be to welcome Pope Francis to the island when he makes an official visit in September.
“I feel deeply honored and humbled by this appointment. It is a calling from God which I accept with all humility,” he said. “I will try my best to honor this calling and to honor the office. I look forward to working in close collaboration with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the board of governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.”
“I am delighted that Archbishop Ian has accepted the call to become the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and my personal representative to the Holy See,” Abp. Justin Welby said. “His appointment comes at an exciting time in the growing and important relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.
“Archbishop Ian will bring to his new role a wealth of experience in practical ecumenical engagement, and significant connections throughout the Anglican Communion. I look forward to working with him as we continue to develop our relationship with the Catholic Church.”
Ernest described his appointment as “quite a journey for me.” His father was the first Anglican priest to preach in a Catholic Church in Mauritius. Ernest attended Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools and, when he was studying for ordination, attended courses at a Roman Catholic seminary.
“We had an ecumenical involvement when it came to our studies because we had some Roman Catholic lecturers for the Old and New Testaments working with us at St. Paul’s Theological College,” he said. “When I became the bishop it became quite natural to continue this journey, and I worked quite closely with the Roman Catholic Bishop in Mauritius and the Apostolic Vicar on the island of Rodrigues.”
As Bishop of Mauritius, Ernest has been involved in the leadership of Rodrigues College, a joint Anglican-Catholic school formed in 1973 by the merger of St. Louis Roman Catholic School and St. Barnabas Anglican School.
He has also worked closely with Cardinal Maurice Piat of Port Louis. Together, the two have written joint statements on environmental and social issues and have delivered joint Christmas messages for Mauritian television.
He was a member of the Design Group for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops; and is a member of the Archbishop’s Task Group, established following the 2016 Primates’ Meeting to “restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deep differences” in the Anglican Communion.
Adapted from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website
- Related reading: Abp. Ernest, a member of the Living Church Foundation, wrote “Building on a Solid Foundation” for TLC in May 2011.