Kiwi churchman to meet Pope

CHURCH LEADER: Archbishop of New Zealand David Moxon.
CHURCH LEADER: Archbishop of New Zealand David Moxon.

An Archbishop of New Zealand, David Moxon, will have his first audience with Pope Francis today at the Vatican City, Rome.

Archbishop David Moxon, the worldwide Anglican Communion’s newly appointed ambassador to the Catholic Church in Rome, will join the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in the meeting this evening (NZ time).

It will be the first time all three men, who have all been appointed in recent months, will meet, and the commonalities of the two Christian denominations, challenges of the church, global poverty, and the economy, are said to be on the agenda, according to the Anglican Church in New Zealand’s website.

Archbishop Moxon, who was handpicked from Hamilton by the new Archbishop of Canterbury’s predecessor Rowan Williams, was expected to be formally welcomed by the new Archibishop of Canterbury and the Pope during an official state visit to Vatican City in December.

Archbishop Moxon's new role was announced last December, but he has only just taken up the role.

The job makes him one of the few people in the world to have the ears of the worldwide leaders of the Anglican and Catholic churches, the two biggest Christian denominations in the world.

The Anglican Church split from Rome in 1534 and has about 85 million members, while the Catholic Church is 1.2 billion people.

The role of ambassador - a position held for between three and five years - was created after World War II.

Bishop Moxon replaced Australian clergyman David Richardson.