The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury will send out 17 pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops across the world next month to work together on joint missions in their dioceses.

The plan was initiated by the International Anglican and Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission, which is made up of pairs of bishops from around the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is due to meet the Pope on October 5 at the church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio, where they will celebrate First Vespers and launch the new missionary project.

The service will combine elements of Anglican Evensong and Catholic Vespers, and the choirs of the Sistine Chapel and Canterbury Cathedral will provide the music.

During the service the pairs of bishops will be blessed and formally sent out for mission.

The schedule of the archbishop’s visit to Rome has not been finalised but he is expected to stay for two days. He will be accompanied by 17 other Anglican primates and he will pray at the tomb of St Peter with the Pope, before a private audience.

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