UK

Archbishop Of Canterbury Justin Welby Enthroned In Canterbury Cathedral

21/03/2013 17:34 GMT | Updated 22/03/2013 09:33 GMT

The enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury began with a bang, or three bangs to be precise, as Justin Welby hammered on the door of the Cathedral asking to be let in.

A rogue dean hadn't locked the Archbishop out, but the three knocks were a symbolic act, formally requesting admission to the cathedral.

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Knock knock, who's there?

Dressed in a cope, stole and mitre made from gold-coloured silk, Justin Welby struck the West Door with the end of his staff.

His robes were second-hand, made originally for his tutor, the late Bishop of Peterborough, the Most Rev Ian Cundy and worn by Welby as a tribute.

The Archbishop was greeted by 17-year-old Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a young member of the Anglican Communion.

As the Archbishop stood just inside the West Door, the teenager asked a number of questions about himself and the purpose on seeking admission to the cathedral.

Lambeth Palace twitter account live tweeted from the cathedral

She said: "We greet you in the name of Christ. Who are you and why do you request entry?"

The Archbishop replied: "I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God, to travel with you in his service together."

Evangeline added: "Why have you been sent to us?"

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Justin Welby beams at the congregation

The Archbishop replied: "I am sent as Archbishop to serve you, to proclaim the love of Christ and with you to worship and love him with heart and soul, mind and strength."

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Justin Welby kisses the 1400-year-old Canterbury Gospels during the service

Evangeline went on to ask: "How do you come among us and with what confidence?"

The Archbishop said: "I come knowing nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified, and in weakness and fear and in much trembling."

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The Duchess of Cornwall was present

As the doors opened slowly, the many famous faces among the 2000 strong congregation turned to gaze upon the man soon to be enthroned as the new leader of the Anglican church.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as well as prime minister David Cameron were present in the ancient cathedral.

Welby was first installed on the diocesan throne by a woman for the first time in history as Venerable Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury blessed Welby, symbolising his appointment as Bishop of Canterbury - the first of three roles held by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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African dancers celebrated his enthronement

The next enthronement took place on the giant marble chair of St Augustine, as he was installed by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Robert Willis. This marked his appointment as head of the Church of England and represented his inauguration as spiritual leader of the 77 million strong Anglican Communion.

The head of the Church of England caused a stir earlier on Thursday after saying some gay couples have loving and monogamous relationships of "stunning quality" - and he believes a woman will one day be made an archbishop.

He backed traditional Church teaching on homosexuality but told BBC News: "You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship." He added that he had "particular friends where I recognise that and am deeply challenged by it".

After his enthronement, lithe young African men danced in front of the Archbishop singing an African hymn "Gbeh Kpa Kpa Ba" - or "A New Beginning". The service had a strong African theme to represent Welby's connection to the continent whilst working as an oil executive. He has also been recently working there doing peace and reconciliation work.