Archbishop of Canterbury to visit St Edmundsbury Cathedral

THE Archbishop of Canterbury is to follow in the footsteps of the Queen as part of a year of celebrations at Suffolk's mother church.

Will Clarke

THE Archbishop of Canterbury is to follow in the footsteps of the Queen as part of a year of celebrations at Suffolk's mother church.

Dr Rowan Williams' visit to St Edmundsbury Cathedral to dedicate the various works - including the spectacular �10.5 million tower - on June 5 is just one of the events celebrating the completion of its Millennium Project.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will be at the cathedral in April to hand out this year's Maundy money in an historic ceremony dating back to the 12th Century.

Dr William's day long visit includes dedicating the completed tower, chapels, crypt, cloisters and gallery.

Then, following a picnic lunch in the Abbey Gardens Dr Williams, will return to the cathedral to give a lecture for the clergy of the diocese.

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The visit will mark the end of a fortnight of millennium celebrations for which a full programme of events are expected to be published soon.

During the Maundy service the Queen will distribute the Royal Maundy to 83 men and 83 women - a figure marking every year of her life according to a tradition.

Every year in Holy Week, The Queen presents Maundy money to pensioners living close to a British cathedral or abbey.

The presentation takes place on Maundy Thursday in recognition of the service of elderly people to their community and their church.

The history of the service can be traced back in England with certainty to the 12th Century, and there are continuous records of the distribution having been made on Maundy Thursday since the reign of Edward I.