York & North Yorkshire

New Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell confirmed

Archbishop of York at York Minster Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The Archbishop of York takes up the historic Braganza crozier at York Minster

The new Archbishop of York has been confirmed in a video conference service because of coronavirus restrictions.

Bishop Stephen Cottrell has taken over from Dr John Sentamu as the second most senior Church of England cleric.

Archbishop Cottrell said of the virtual service: "This isn't quite how I imagined it would begin."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said "the foundations of our society have been shaken to their core by the ravages of the coronavirus".

Speaking as he opened the service, he added: "The whole church is committed to pray for all those who have been affected and continue to be affected by this pandemic.

"Even though this ministry begins today in a digital environment, it will be earthed in the world that Christ came to save."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption After his virtual confirmation, the Archbishop undertook the custom of knocking on the west door of the Minster

Dr Sentamu was the the UK's first black archbishop when he was enthroned at York Minister in November 2005.

The new incumbent, who is the 98th Archbishop of York, joined the video conference from an office in the Minster.

He later undertook the custom of knocking three times on the west door of the Minster with the Braganza crozier, his staff of office, which is normally part of the now-deferred enthronement service.

"God has called me, that's the reason I am here," he said.

"At the same time as being daunted by it all, I am hugely excited."

Image caption York Minster suffered serious damage when it was struck by lightning in 1984

It was the first time an archbishop's election had been confirmed via video conference, Archbishop Cottrell said.

The church said arrangements for his enthronement service would be announced later in the year.

The service was held on the anniversary of a bolt of lightning hitting and setting fire to the Minster in 1984.

The building has been at the centre of Christianity in the north of England since the 7th Century.

Archbishop Cottrell was born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex in 1958 and trained for ministry at St Stephen's House in Oxford in 1981.

He was ordained deacon at the age of 26 and took up his previous role as Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010.

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