FOR ONLY the second time since the Reformation a Catholic has become a Canon of the Church of England.
Fr Adlebert Deneux, President of the Catholic seminary of Bruges in Belgium, accepted the invitation from Bishop Simon Phipps of the Anglican diocese of Lincoln and in an historic service last week, he was installed as a Canon of Lincoln Cathedral.
Special links between the Catholic diocese of Bruges and the Anglican diocese of Lincoln have existed for many years but Fr Deneux said he was very surprised.
"Offer of a canonry is a sign of welcome into the Church of England," he said in Bruges after news of his invitation became known. "It is a sign of openness and ecumenical trust in what is going on between our two dioceses."
The idea came from the cathedral canons themselves who felt that such a gesture would emphasise their support for contact between the dioceses.
Canon John Nurser, Chancellor at Lincoln, who was responsible for arrangements for the installation said that Fr Deneux would have the same rights as other overseas Canons. He will be able to attend the annual meeting of Canons and will be invited to preach at least once a year.
Fr Brian Dazeley, Chairman of the Ecumenical Commission of the Nottingham Diocese said: "It is an occasion for celebration and I have been looking forward very much to his installation."
Civic dignatories joined members of both churches at the service.