THE week’s worst-kept secret was finally out yesterday when Downing Street announced that Bishop Justin Welby would become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bishop Justin, 56, said being nominated for the post was astonishing and exciting. But he said he would miss Durham, describing it as an astonishing part of the country.
He told a news conference at Lambeth Palace: “This is the best-kept secret since the last Cabinet reshuffle.”
Bishop Justin was the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England before the announcement that he would succeed Rowan Williams.
No 10 made the unusual move of announcing the appointment on social networking site Twitter, stating: “Downing Street is pleased to announce the appointment of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.”
Bishop Justin said: “To be nominated to this post is both astonishing and exciting. It is something I never expected, and the last few weeks have been a very strange experience.
“It is exciting because we are at one of those rare points where the tide of events is turning, and the church nationally, including the Church of England, has great opportunities to match its very great but often hidden strengths.
“I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger, when our network of parishes and churches and schools and, above all, people means that we are facing the toughest issues in the toughest place.
“One of the hardest things will be to leave Durham. I work with a group of wonderful senior colleagues and remarkable clergy and lay people. It is an astonishing part of the country, one which as a family we were greatly looking forward to living in for many years.