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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 16:50 GMT
Archbishop sees Turkey blast site
Archbishop of Canterbury
The archbishop prays the bombings bring different faiths together
The Archbishop of Canterbury has visited the scene of one of two Turkish synagogues attacked by suicide bombers.

Dr Rowan Williams said he hoped the Istanbul blasts, which left 24 people dead, would bring religions together.

He described the scene at the Neva Shalom synagogue as "heartbreaking" and said it was an attack on every Muslim, Jew and Christian.

He said he prayed the tragedy would "ensure that the hatred that breeds violence of this kind cannot flourish".

Most of those killed in the attacks were Muslim Turks, who lived, worked or were passing by the synagogues when the explosions occurred.

About 300 people were wounded in the blasts on Saturday, which came within minutes of each other in the districts of Beyoglu and Sisli.

Dr Williams said: "In a place where the relationship between Muslims, Jews and Christians is one of co-operation and goodwill, an attack on a synagogue is an attack on every Muslim, Jew and Christian."

But Dr Williams said he prayed the tragedy would "draw the religious communities even closer together" and "to ensure that the hatred that breeds violence of this kind cannot flourish".

The Archbishop also acknowledged for the first time that the ordination of a gay bishop in America has complicated moves towards Christian unity.

Ordination 'blasphemous'

Dr Williams spoke about the ordination during a visit to the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

He said: "The Anglican Communion has been brought to face difficult questions about our belonging to one another, and our perception of permissible diversity within the Body of Christ."

"Despite our present difficulty, I am confident that the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Churches will continue to grow together in love and fellowship," Dr Williams said.

The Patriarch warned against taking steps that could hurt relations between Anglican and Orthodox churches.

The Russian Orthodox Church has described the ordination of Gene Robinson in New Hampshire as "blasphemous" and said it ruled out even the "shadow of an agreement" with the American Anglican Church.

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