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Cathedral and university welcome new professors

Durham Cathedral is excited to announce the creation of a brand new role, thanks to a substantial gift left in memoriam, to create a new academic position at a University of its choosing.

The Michael Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies role will sit jointly as an ecumenical lay member of the Cathedral’s College of Canons and as a professor at Durham University, chosen for its close connections and partnership working with the Cathedral.   

The post has now been appointed and Michael Snape, who is currently Reader in Religion, War and Society at Birmingham University will arrive in Durham in September. Mr Snape said: “It is a great honour to be appointed as the first Michael Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies, and an enormous privilege to join the College of Canons of Durham Cathedral.  In admitting a lay Roman Catholic as an ecumenical canon, I am conscious that the Cathedral has made a bold and clear statement of its commitment to ecumenism, a commitment I intend to reciprocate in my contribution to the Cathedral's work, witness and outreach.”  

The endowment for the new post was gifted for the purpose of establishing a professorial position in support of the intellectual life of Anglicanism and of Anglican clergy.  Mr Snape added: “As a historian of religion and conflict, and particularly of the role of the Anglican Communion in the First and Second World Wars, it is especially interesting to arrive during the centenary of the First World War. 

“As a new member of the college of canons, in the next eighteen months I hope that I might have the opportunity to assist the Cathedral in commemorating - and reflecting theologically upon - two contrasting examples of Christian service and witness, namely the experience of conscientious objectors from the North-East, and the sacrifice of those from its churches who served and fell in the battle of the Somme.”

And Mr Snape will not be the only new appointment between the Cathedral and University. Also joining will be Simon Oliver, currently Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham and Canon Theologian of Southwell Minster, who will take up the post of Van Mildert Professor of Divinity and a Chapter member of Durham Cathedral.

Simon said: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to the post at Durham. Combining research and teaching in the world class Department of Theology and Religion with the life and ministry of one of the world’s great cathedrals is a huge privilege and provides many unique opportunities.

“My family and I are very much looking forward to sharing in the life of the Cathedral community at Durham and exploring the beautiful north east of England.”

The holder of the Van Mildert chair, which is jointly funded by Durham Cathedral and the University, is also a Canon Residentiary at the Cathedral and a member of its Chapter.

Both posts have been appointed by the Bishop, Durham University and the Cathedral. Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, said: “We are delighted to see both the creation of this new post and the appointment of one of the oldest positions within the University. We are excited about the new knowledge and experience that both Simon and Mike will bring and look forward to welcoming them into our community.”

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