Having wondered in my last post what the Archbishop of Canterbury would be wearing last Thursday, I was left with mixed feelings. On one hand I was a bit disappointed that he was not wearing a cope that had been specially made for the occasion but that was more than outweighed by the fact that it was the same outfit that he wore as Bishop of Durham and even then it was second-hand!
The cope, stole and mitre had been made for the Revd. Ian Cundy and given to him as a gift when he left St. John's College, Durham where he was a tutor to take up the position of Bishop of Lewes and then Bishop of Peterborough. Sadly he died at the age of 64 but his family kept the set of vestments in the hope that one day this 'mantle' would pass to the right person.
Ian Cundy was Justin Welby's tutor at college and both families worshipped at the same church and became friends, and when Justin became Archbishop of Durham he was offered the vestments and they fitted perfectly! And so, on being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin declined the offer of a new set.
Likewise the new Pope, Francis 1 is wearing simple vestments, so unlike the previous Popes. He is also wearing black shoes under a simple white habit rather than the hand-made red loafers worn by Benedict. Pope Francis 1 is also placing himself on the same level rather than elevated on a throne when welcoming people and has also started inviting guests to his early morning Mass - including Vatican gardeners, street sweepers, kitchen staff and maids working at the hotel where he is currently staying.
I look forward to the ministry of both Francis 1 and Justin Welby.