Williams, Rowan Douglas

Williams, Rowan Douglas, 1950–, archbishop of Canterbury (2002–12), b. Swansea, Wales; grad. Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1971; M.A., 1975), Wadham College, Oxford (D.Phil., 1975). Ordained a priest in 1978, he was a teacher, dean, and chaplain at Cambridge (1977–86) and a professor of theology at Oxford (1986–92). He subsequently served as bishop of Monmouth (1992–2002) and archbishop of Wales (2000–2002). When Williams was enthroned (2002) as the 104th archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding George L. Carey, he became the first person from outside England to hold the title since the Reformation. An outspoken and sometimes controversial liberal, Williams has supported the ordination of women and gay priests, favored separation of church and state, and opposed Western (especially American) militarism. His tenure as Anglican primate was marked by worsening relations between liberals and conservatives in the church, especially between conservative African churches and liberal North American ones, and he worked to avoid a schism and maintain Anglican unity. Justin Welby succeeded him. Williams is a theologian and scholar whose books include Christian Spirituality (1980), The Truce of God (1983), On Christian Theology (1999), Writing in the Dust: After September 11 (2002), Lost Icons (2002), and studies of Arius (1987) and Theresa of Ávila (1991). He has also written volumes of poetry.

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