Cardinal Vincent Nichols will celebrate Mass next year with Cardinal Péter Erdő, the Primate of Hungary, marking the start of a pilgrimage dedicated to St Thomas Becket, whose feast day is today.
The Mass, which will be attended by Hungarian president János Áder, will coincide with the launch of a joint initiative by the Hungarian government and the Anglican and Catholic communions in England.
The relics of St Thomas Becket are kept at Estergom, seat of the metropolitan archdiocese of Hungary, and each year on December 29, the anniversary of the archbishop’s death, they are displayed at the Basilica for veneration.
On May 23-29 the relics will be loaned to Canterbury Cathedral and a pilgrimage will take place from Rochester to Canterbury.
Becket was murdered in 1170 in the cathedral by four knights in the service of Henry II, who had acted after the king and archbishop had fallen out over the right of the crown to try clerics.
According to tradition, the saint’s relics were brought to Hungary following Becket’s death by his friend Cardinal Lukács Bánffy.