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Last Updated: Friday, 21 March 2008, 01:03 GMT
Archbishop performs feet washing
Archbishop of Canterbury performing feet-washing ceremony
The feet-washing ceremony was reinstated after 400 years
The Archbishop of Canterbury has taken part in the ancient Maundy Thursday ceremony of feet washing.

Dr Rowan Williams washed the feet of 12 members of the congregation during the evening Canterbury Cathedral service.

The ritual represents Jesus's washing of his disciples' feet at the Last Supper as a gesture of humility.

The feet-washing ceremony at Canterbury was reinstated in 2003 following a move away from symbolic ceremonies since the Reformation in the 16th Century.

Easter celebration

Dr Williams was assisted by the Very Reverend Robert Willis, who suggested the restoration of the ceremony.

Canterbury Cathedral spokesman Christopher Robinson said: "It is a symbol of humility that all Christians are there to serve other people and it also marks the start of the three days leading up to the celebration of Easter."

In 2003, the feet-washing ceremony was performed by an Archbishop of Canterbury for the first time in 400 years.

Maundy Thursday feet washing was performed by monarchs until James II, but in the 18th Century the Archbishop of York did it on their behalf.

Historic first for Maundy service
20 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland

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