At an address in the Chapel of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and former Archbishop of Canterbury Baron Williams of Oystermouth was awarded the University’s Benedict XVI Medal.
The highest honour the University can award; Lord Williams was awarded the Benedict XVI Medal in recognition of services to Theology by St Mary’s Chair of Governors Bishop Richard Moth.
Lord Williams began his ministry after completing his undergraduate studies at Christ’s College, Cambridge and his Doctoral Studies at Wadham College, Oxford, being ordained in 1977 in Ely Cathedral.
His early academic career saw him hold lectureships between Oxford and Cambridge, becoming the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford in 1986.
He holds honorary doctorates from countless universities, has been elected a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature and the Learned Society of Wales, and was made a life peer in 2013.
A speaker of over ten languages, Lord Williams has published widely during his career and recently learnt Russian in-order to read the works of Dostoevsky, resulting in the highly acclaimed book Dostoevsky: Language, Fiction and Faith.
In 1992, Lord Williams was elected as Bishop of Monmouth in the Church of Wales, being promoted in 2000 to Archbishop of Wales, where he remained until he succeeded Lord Carey as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002.
Previous recipients of the medal include His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Richard Clarke, and alumnus of St Mary’s and Former Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Speaking of the award, Chancellor of St Mary’s University HE Cardinal Vincent Nichols said, “I am delighted that St Mary’s has recognised the significant contributions Lord Williams has made to both theological thought and public spiritual life in this way. I enjoyed working with him during his time as Archbishop, and his dedication to creating harmony between peoples of all faiths chimes closely with St Mary’s own mission for interfaith dialogue, which I am proud to see flourishing at the University.”
Bishop Moth added, “St Mary’s is increasingly becoming a beacon for theological discourse, with regular high profile speakers joining us on campus and our research centres leading the way in many areas. I was honoured to hear Lord Williams speak this evening, and proud that we are able to recognise the significant contributions he has made to theology with the highest award we can present.”