2017-03-17 10:39:00

New Anglican Centre director is Burundi Archbishop Ntahoturi

(Vatican Radio) The new director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Vatican will be the former head of the Anglican Church in Burundi, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi.

A statement from Lambeth Palace on Friday said Archbishop Bernard will take up his new post in September, succeeding the outgoing director, Archbishop David Moxon.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report: 

Born in 1948, Archbishop Ntahoturi grew up in a small village in southern Burundi, the son of a poor farming family. After training at theological College in Uganda, he was ordained in 1973 and then continued his studies in England at Cambridge and Oxford universities.

After his training, he returned to Burundi where he joined the civil service, becoming chief of staff to President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. When the government was overthrown in a military coup in 1987 he spent four years in jail.

In 1992 Ntahoturi became Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Burundi and five years later he was consecrated Bishop of Matana Diocese.

In 2005 he became Archbishop Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

Archbishop Ntahoturi has served as chair of the Council of Anglican provinces in Africa from 2011-2016, and as a member of the Anglican Consultative Council Standing Committee from 1993-2012.

Extensive ecumenical experience

He has extensive ecumenical experience having served as a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of churches since 1998, and co-moderator of the Permanent Committee on Collaboration and Consensus which brings together representatives of the Orthodox, Anglicans and Reformed Churches. He has also served on the Executive Committee of ACT (Action of Churches Together) International and participated in the creation of the new ACT Alliance which is the ecumenical branch of the WCC for Relief and Development.

Peace and reconciliation work

Archbishop Ntahoturi has been active in promoting peace in war-torn Burundi and the great Lakes region of Africa, representing the Protestant Churches of his country during negotiations in Tanzania, which were instrumental in bringing peace to Burundi. He is Vice Chair of the Burundi Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Chair of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).

So that the world may believe

Following the announcement of his appointment, Archbishop Ntahoturi said he looked forward to building on the work of his predecessors and to strengthening “those areas, especially in peace building, where the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church can work together for a common witness, so that the world may believe and God [be] glorified’.

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