Archbishop of Canterbury Reported Going to Palestine: Why Was His Projected Visit Two Years Ago Aban
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Archbishop of Canterbury Reported Going to Palestine: Why Was His Projected Visit Two Years Ago Aban

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang, is going on a visit to Palestine at Easter with his friend Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, the American millionaire, who is now on his way to London to meet the Archbishop, it is announced here to-day. They are to go to Palestine in Mr. Morgan’s yacht “Corsair”, it is added.

About two years ago, in March 1929, it was similarly announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury was leaving in Mr. Pierpont Morgan’s yacht, the “Corsair”, on a Mediterranean trio, during which he would visit the dignitaries of the Eastern Churches at Jerusalem and Athens, and possibly Alexandria. Sir John Chancellor, the High Commissioner for Palestine, it was added, had arranged a reception in Jerusalem in honour of the Archbishop.

A few days later it was reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury had abandoned his intention to visit Palestine during his. Mediterranean cruise, following an intimation that such a visit was viewed with much misgiving by the Vatican. Representations received by the Vatican, the “Daily Telegraph” stated, indicated that the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Monsignore Barlassina, was much disturbed at the prospect of the Holy City being visited for the first time since the Reformation by the Primate of the Anglican Church. His apprehensions arose to a considerable extent out of the close understanding which now exists between the Anglican Communion and the various Orthodox Churches of the East. The Roman Catholic objections, the “Daily Telegraph” said, are not altogether unexpected, for nothing in Jerusalem is the object of more jealous vigilance than the status quo maintained among the various religious bodies claiming rights in the Holy City. An example of this, it said, is that despite the fact that the Government of Palestine is administered under the Mandatory Powers vested in the British Government, the Church of England shares none of the privileges of using the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which are enjoyed by Greeks, Copts, Armenians, and Latine.

The Foreign Office could not have withstood the Archbishop’s desire to visit the Holy City had he pressed it, the “Telegraph” added, but there will probably be relief in official quarters that by his tactful recognition of the delicacy of the position, His Grace has avoided an embarrassing situation.

It is strange, the “Telegraph” wrote some days later when the matter had caused a good deal of discussion, that the Primate of All England should have to refrain from a visit to the heads of the Churches with which his own is in close relationship because of the susceptibilities of another Church with which it is not in communion, more especially when the proposed visit was to a territory under British administration. The incident, it said, is only another manifestation of the local spirit of mutual distrust and hostility, which since 1921 has prevented the establishment of the International Commission on Holy Places, which under the terms of the Mandate should have enquired into the best means of preserving the Holy Places of Palestine.

Reports from Rome denied that the Archbishop had abandoned his visit to Jerusalem as a result of an intimation that such a visit was regarded with misgiving in the Vatican. No official representations, it was said, had been made by the Vatican either through the British Legation to the Holy See or by any direct means. Objection to the visit appeared to have been raised by the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, who sent a memorandum to the Vatican upon hearing that the Archbishop was journeying to the Holy City. The inopportuneness of the visit was the subject of the memorandum, and according to one source, the Latin Patriarch’s view was communicated to London, whereupon Dr. Lang decided to postpone his visit to a more favourable moment.

An official statement was finally issued in London from Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, stating that the Archbishop would not be able to visit Jerusalem during his cruise, owing to the fact that his host, Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, had been unexpectedly detained in Paris by the work of the Reparations Commission. In view of certain statements which had recently appeared, it was added, the Archbishop wishes it to be known that this is the only reason why he is unable to fulfil his original plan.

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