Tributes have been paid to the Archbishop of Canterbury as he prepares to leave office after a decade as head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion.
Dr Rowan Williams, 62, will step down at the end of this month as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury to take up the posts of Master of Magdalene College Cambridge and chairman of the board of trustees of Christian Aid, the international development agency.
His departure comes after a turbulent 10 years in office in which Dr Williams has fought to maintain unity within the Anglican Communion amid rows over Church teaching on gay relationships.
Church of England bishops and former prime minister Tony Blair paid tribute to Dr Williams, describing him as “loved and deeply respected” and someone who had given “unwavering” service, leadership and dedication to the Church of England and the wider nation.
The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, said: “I believe that history will judge Rowan Williams to have been an outstanding archbishop.”