VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2002 (Zenit.org).- An exhibition on the history of Anglicanism has opened at the Vatican Museum, a presentation that could promote ecumenical relations between Rome and London.
Entitled “Anglicanism and the Western Church: Continuity and Change,” the exhibition was organized with the collaboration of the museum, Norwich Cathedral and the British Embassy at the Vatican.
The exhibition was inaugurated Monday by U.S. Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State, in the presence of German Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Reverend Stephen Platten, canonical dean of Norwich Cathedral.
The initiative coincided with the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The preface to the exhibition´s catalogue was written by George Carey, Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, who hopes that the display will serve to consolidate “ecumenical friendship.”
The exhibition, being held under the frescoes of the Sistine Hall, includes 21 panels that narrate in pictures the history of Great Britain´s evangelization and the consolidation of the Church in the first centuries of the Middle Ages.
There is a section on the schism caused by Henry VIII in the 16th century and, lastly, a section on the rapprochement between London and Rome, which made rapid progress in 1960 when Pope John XXIII received Geoffrey Fisher, then archbishop of Canterbury, in the Vatican.
Another decisive gesture in the rapprochement between the two Churches took place in Rome in 1966 with the visit of Michael Ramsey, another archbishop of Canterbury. Paul VI gave his episcopal ring to the Anglican primate as a sign of friendship and hope in a future communion. The ring is on display in the exhibition.
Speaking over Vatican Radio, Cardinal Kasper explained that the exhibition implies a “small step” toward unity but, “perhaps important, because we must know our history in order to face a common future.”