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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

University Presents Archbishop of Canterbury With Honourary Degree

Ceremony held as pro-Palestine encampment continues to grow


By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco


University Secretary Tracey Slaven congratulates Archbishop Justin Welby. Photo: UoA

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, received an honourary doctorate from the University on Tuesday morning - as a pro-Palestine encampment on Elphinstone Lawn continues to grow.


Flanked by high ranking academics and members of the University Court, Archbishop Welby, the senior-most leader of the Church of England, entered King's College Chapel at 11 am.


Torrance steps in for Boyne:


Sources inside the University's divinity department said that the honourary graduation was years in the making.

The degree was bestowed by Pro Chancellor Iain Torrance, himself a former moderator of the Church of Scotland.

While Principal George Boyne was a notable absence, Archbishop Welby was welcomed by University Secretary Tracey Slaven, Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker, and Vice Principal for Regional Engagement Peter Edwards.


After the ceremony, the Archbishop and his entourage were treated to a private lunch in the Linklater Rooms.


Palestine Protests Continue:


Meanwhile, on the other side of the lawn, a growing number of students gathered at a pro-Palestine encampment first erected on Monday afternoon.


This led to some uncomfortable moments throughout the morning, as VIPs and local dignitaries crossed the lawn on their way into the chapel.


While some wondered if the Archbishop himself would visit the demonstrators, he “successfully avoided” the tents, according to one witness.


In February, the Church of England called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Archbishop Welby's achievements celebrated:


University officials hailed the Archbishop's degree as a celebration of his contributions to “faith and society.”


Originally an oil and gas worker, the Archbishop was ordained in 1992, and served in a number of charges before being announced as the next Archbishop in late 2012.


In a statement, Principal Boyne said the University was “pleased” to recognise the Archbishop's contributions to theological study.


Professor Sir Torrance noted that the University was “delighted” to offer him the honorary degree, adding:


“Within the life of the church, Archbishop Welby has strived to maintain unity within a global ecclesial community which has at times been very divided.


"His work in peacebuilding, reconciliation and forgiveness has been honest and powerful.

“Furthermore, under his Archepiscopal tenure, women have for the first time been able to be consecrated bishops—in no small part due to his guidance and vision.”

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