Lambeth Palace has released a statement today saying the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams will step down from office by the end of December.
Dr. Williams has accepted the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge University.
“It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision,” Dr. Williams said.
“During the time remaining there is much to do, and I ask your prayers and support in this period and beyond. I am abidingly grateful to all those friends and colleagues who have so generously supported Jane and myself in these years, and all the many diverse parishes and communities in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion that have brought vision, hope and excitement to my own ministry. I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to continuing to serve the Church’s mission and witness as best I can in the years ahead.“
Speculation the archbishop would resign has been rife. While the archbishop’s office has been quick to deny past rumours of a departure from the office he has held since 2002, Lambeth Palace had refused to comment on the latest round – as has Magdalene College.
Dr. Williams has a full schedule for the rest of the year including General Synod and the contentious issue of women bishops, the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in New Zealand that will address the Anglican Covenant, further overseas trips to the communion, and an invitation to preach in Rome from the pope to the bishops of the Catholic Church.
The archbishop has conveyed his desire to step down to the Queen, and the Crown Nominations Commission will consider in due course the selection of a successor.