Archbishop tours Red Zone

05:19, Nov 04 2012
The Archbishop Rowan Williams at Christ's College for a service at the college chapel.
The Archbishop Rowan Williams at Christ's College for a service at the college chapel.

The leader of the Anglican Church has distanced himself from the debate over the future of the Christ Church Cathedral.

Archbishop Rowan Williams today toured the central-city red zone, which included a stop at the earthquake-damaged landmark, on the final day of a two-day visit to Christchurch.

He was reluctant to comment on the cathedral's fate, which was subject to a High Court case brought by the Jim Anderton-led Great Christchurch Buildings Trust.

The Archbishop Rowan Williams and Bishop Victoria Matthews at Christ's College for a service at the college chapel.
The Archbishop Rowan Williams and Bishop Victoria Matthews at Christ's College for a service at the college chapel.

''I think that's a local decision and I really can't get involved, especially as the court case is still ongoing.''

Williams said he had seen ''bits and pieces'' of reports about the building's condition.

''I've seen the pictures, but it's different when you see a great historic building very much loved in ruins like that,'' he said.

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The Archbishop Rowan Williams and Bishop Victoria Matthews at Christ's Church Catherdal in the square
The Archbishop Rowan Williams and Bishop Victoria Matthews at Christ's Church Catherdal in the square

The scale of Christchurch's disaster had ''stung'' him.

''It's a challenge seeing in on the run, as it were. Driving around, I thought the only thing I've seen like this is when I was in Beirut a few years ago.''

Williams this morning led a service at Christ's College and will attend a service Avonhead's St Christopher's Church before departing later today.

He last night spoke at The Concert, a music event organised for volunteers at AMI Stadium.

Fairfax Media