Anglican Representative in Rome: Canterbury and the Vatican's relationship is at its best

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The new director of the Anglican Center in Rome, Bernard Ntahoturi, arrived in Rome just three months ago. The Eternal City has little to do with his homeland: Burundi, one of the smallest countries in Africa.

After being in Rome only a month, he met Pope Francis. He says the day, October 27, has been one of the most special moments since he has come to Italy.

Director, Anglican Centre (Rome)

“He is a wonderful man. The first thing I noticed about him is that he is really human and when he welcomes you feel you are interacting with a human being who loves his people, but who loves his Lord at the same time.”

Now in Rome his life has completely changed, and he insists that his main objective is to promote unity in a divided world.

Director, Anglican Centre (Rome)

“We are the representatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. We promote that friendship. We have come to work here when their relationship, the relationship within Canterbury and Rome, the Vatican, is at its best as I see it and as I have been reading in history.”

Born and raised in Burundi, he studied Theology in Uganda, and then moved to England. He returned as archbishop of Burundi and there he had to mediate between the government and rebels in the country. But he assures that he experienced something very special that made him regain hope in the future of his country.

Director, Anglican Centre (Rome)

“What moved me the most was to see people that were fighting, coming together and I have an example of that. The Church and the Organization of National Council of Churches that was leading at that particular moment, organized a football game. A football team of military, of the government at that time, and those who were in the rebellion. They came and played the 90 minutes without hurting each other and without saying, 'I will win.' They wanted to have a game together as brothers who wanted Burundi to be peaceful.”

He says that experience made him realize that even among people with many differences and grudges, it is possible to find common ground. This is precisely what he wants to do in his role at the Anglican Center.

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