The Right Reverend Justin Welby will be enthroned in March

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The next Archbishop of Canterbury has been officially named by Downing Street.

Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Justin Welby, is to become the 105th person to get the post after Dr Rowan Williams announced he was retiring in December.

Dr Welby has only been a bishop for just over a year, and before being ordained, he spent 11 years working as a businessman in the oil industry.

The announcement came as no surprise after a number of national newspapers speculated that the 56-year-old would be formally selected despite the top-secret process.

Following the announcement, The Right Reverend Justin Welby said: “I don’t think anyone could be more surprised than me at the outcome of this process. It has been an experience, reading more about me than I knew myself.

“To be nominated to Canterbury is at the same time overwhelming and astonishing. It is overwhelming because of those I follow, and the responsibility it has. It is astonishing because it is something I never expected to happen.

“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.”

A major turning point for the next Archbishop was when his seven-month old daughter died in a car crash in 1983, and later left the oil industry following a call from God.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Church of England, as well as the leader of the Diocese of Canterbury.

Dr Welby’s appointment has been welcomed by The Bishop of Dover Trevor Willmott, who said he was “delighted” by the news.

He said: “The Archbishop Elect has a powerful vision for the Church in contemporary society and a breadth of experience in the Church and in the world and I can think of no one better to lead the Anglican Church.

“An experienced pastor, Bishop Justin Welby has demonstrated a deep commitment to all the communities he has served, including those struggling socially and economically in Liverpool and Durham. Through his extensive reconciliation work in Africa and the Middle East and through his work on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in the UK, Bishop Justin has shown his passion for Christian mission to this country and the world.

“I know the Diocese joins with me in congratulating Bishop Justin on his appointment. We all look forward to welcoming Dr Welby to Canterbury and to sharing our ministry with him here in Kent.”

Outgoing Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams said in a statement wished his successor luck with “every blessing”.

He said: “I am delighted at the appointment of the Right Reverend Justin Welby to Canterbury. I have had the privilege of working closely with him on various occasions and have always been enriched and encouraged by the experience.

“He has an extraordinary range of skills and is a person of grace, patience, wisdom and humour; he will bring to this office both a rich pastoral experience and a keen sense of international priorities, for Church and world.

“I wish him - with Caroline and the family - every blessing, and hope that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion will share my pleasure at this appointment and support him with prayer and love.”

Dr Welby, who succeeds Dr Rowan Williams, will be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21st March 2013.

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