Rowan Williams

 

Dr Rowan Douglas Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, PC, FBA, FRSL, FLSW (m. 1968), is a Welsh Anglican bishop and former Archbishop of Canterbury.

He was born in Swansea, South Wales on 14 June 1950 and was educated at Dynevor School in Swansea. Later, he came up to Christ's College where he read Theology. He studied for his doctorate, on the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought, at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.

From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained Priest in 1978, and from 1980 as Curate at St George's, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the University, and the following year became Dean and Chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.

In 1991 Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. In July 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th Bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.

Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study such as philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics.

At the end of 2012 Williams stepped down as Archbishop of Canterbury and moved to a new role as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 2013 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of South Wales. He also delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. Justin Welby succeeded him in the chair of St Augustine on 9 November 2012, being enthroned in March 2013. On 26 December 2012, 10 Downing St announced Williams' elevation to the peerage as a Life Baron, so that he could continue to speak in the Upper House of Parliament. Following the creation of his title on 8 January and its gazetting on 11 January 2013, he was introduced to the temporal benches of the House of Lords as Baron Williams of Oystermouth on 15 January 2013, sitting as a crossbencher.

 

 
 

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