Marking the first Pope to enter inside an Anglican church in his own diocese as Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis’ visit this Sunday, Feb. 26, to the Church of England chaplaincy of All Saints in Rome, will be historic.
According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, during the afternoon encounter to Italy’s largest Anglican congregation, “the Holy Father will join the congregation for a short Choral Evensong service which includes the blessing of a specially commissioned icon and the twinning of All Saints with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti, a Rome church with strong ecumenical ties.”
During the afternoon liturgy at the Church near Rome’s Spanish steps, which will take the form of a shortened Choral Evensong, Pope Francis will deliver a homily and afterwards, he will answer questions from members of the congregation.
The Italian state recently granted legal recognition to the church, which is part of the Diocese in Europe’s Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta.
The event, the statement pointed out, comes as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations for All Saints which began with a small group of worshippers holding the first Church of England liturgy on October 27th 1816. The current church was built over half a century later, designed by George Edmund Street, one of the most famous British architects of the Victorian era.