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Archbishop of Canterbury Announces Resignation

Pope Benedict XVI arrives with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, left, to celebrate Vespers at Rome's San Gregorio al Celio Basilica, March 10, 2012.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion and the Church of England, announced Friday he is stepping down at the end of this year.

Archbishop Rowan Williams said on his website, he will begin a new position as Master of Magdalene College, in Cambridge, beginning in January.

He has served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury (2002) for a decade.

Dr. Williams says leaving his post was not an easy decision, but he looks forward with the same support and inspiration to continue serving the Church's mission and being witness to his faith.

The Crown Nominations Commission will be responsible for helping in the selection of Dr. Williams' successor.