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Updated Friday, November 9, 2012 at 05:31 AM

Justin Welby named next archbishop of Canterbury

The Associated Press

Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, a former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution, was named Friday as the next archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans.

The government said Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, has been chosen to succeed the retiring Rowan Williams. He is the 105th holder of the post.

He said he felt privileged, and astonished, to be chosen to lead the church at "a time of spiritual hunger."

"It's something I never expected," Welby said.

Welby, who takes over a church divided over issues including gay marriage and female bishops, is known for his business expertise and work on conflict resolution in Africa.


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