HISTORY was made today when the 98th Archbishop of York was confirmed at York Minster with everyone watching and taking part via Zoom.

Stephen Cottrell took up the historic Braganza Crozier – his staff of office – in a short ceremony at the cathedral, broadcast entirely via video conference due to coronavirus restrictions.

The service included music from York Minster Choir and Manor Church of England Academy, York, and young people from across the north read a letter written by the medieval religious scholar Alcuin of York.

Following the service, the new Archbishop was due to make a short walk of pilgrimage to the shrine of St Margaret Clitherow in Shambles, welcomed by the Rt Revd Terence Drainey, Roman Catholic Bishop of Middlesbrough.

The Archbishop will then proceed to the crypt of York Minster to pray at the tomb of St William of York and move to the Quire to take up his Crozier in front of a small, socially distanced gathering of staff from Bishopthorpe Palace and the Minster.

The Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York said the pandemic had meant that the full Enthronement service would have to be deferred for a while, and so the ceremony was a simplified and low-key beginning to the Archbishop's ministry.

“We look forward to being able to gather more fully to celebrate the beginning of Archbishop Elect Stephen’s ministry in due course," he said. "For now, we are happy to welcome Stephen and his family in great love and we pray for him as he prepares for the challenges and the joys that his office will bring.”

The Archbishop said his focus would be on prayer and he wanted to begin by praying for the unity of the Church and for all those persecuted.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “I am so excited about working with Archbishop Stephen to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ. The next few years are going to be a huge adventure. We will be exploring our way into being a new Church in a new world."