Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Archbishop of Canterbury Meets Former President of Iran

Thursday 2nd November 2006

Dr Williams received HE Mr Seyyed Muhammad Khatami, at Lambeth Palace this morning and the two discussed developing relationships between Christian and Muslim Institutions, especially the developing dialogue between the Church of England and Iranian Islamic organisations.

The conversation explored a growing perception that peoples' spiritual needs were more urgent than ever and required a more comprehensive response than modern society and culture seemed able to offer.

Dr Williams was encouraged to learn of Mr Khatami's work in establishing a centre in Geneva to pursue his 'Dialogue of Civilisations' initiative. Dr Williams said that the meeting had been a positive one:

"I was heartened by the support Mr Khatami expressed for the idea that religious leaders in places of tension and conflict should play a vital role in building confidence and trust between communities. People of faith have much to contribute to the solving of the problems caused by mistrust and misunderstanding."

The meeting was followed by a seminar on Christian Muslim relations and a discussion about a number of the Archbishop's initiatives, including the Building Bridges Seminars and the trilateral seminar series between the Institute of Inter-Religious Dialogue in Iran, the Lutheran Church of Germany (EKD) and the Church of England.

The seminar also heard about the formal relationship between the Anglican Communion and the premier Islamic University of al-Azhar al Sharif in Egypt, through which exchanges of imams and clergy in training are currently taking place. The seminar heard from the Revd Nigel Dawkins who spent six weeks in the summer at Al Alzhar University. Mr Khatami also briefed the seminar about the centre for the Dialogue of Civilisations that he is establishing in Geneva.

Back · Back to top