The Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England still has a "long way to go" as he spoke of the scars and "hurt" suffered by campaigners in favour of women's ordination in the face of "knee-jerk" resistance to change.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the ordination of the first women to the priesthood in the Church of England should not overlook the "costly grind" of those who fought for the change to take place.
In a sermon at a national service in St Paul's Cathedral to mark the anniversary, the Archbishop warned against "triumphalism" but said the ordination of women should be celebrated with a "fullness of heart and no holding back".
The Archbishop of Canterbury has led a service today to mark the 20th anniversary of the first female priests to join the Church of England.
Hundreds of women priests and their supporters accompanied The Most Reverand Justin Welby in a procession from Westminster, to St Paul's Cathedral.
The service has heard readings and personal testimonies.
Those at the service included senior Church of England female clergy such as the Very Rev June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, the Venerable Cherry Vann, Archdeacon of Rochdale, and the Venerable Dr Jane Hedges, Archdeacon of Westminster.
The General Synod gave approval for women priests in 1992 and the first wave of women to be ordained took place in March 1994. The move sparked a walkout by some traditionalists.
The number of ordained women in the Church of England has now risen to around a third.
The service comes before the Church of England is expected to give final approval to legislation introducing women bishops in July, paving the way for the first female bishop to be appointed by early next year.
Hundreds of young people have joined the Archbishop and Diocese of Canterbury on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. Around five hundred children aged under eighteen made their way across East Kent to the Cathedral, where a special service was held.
David Johns reports, speaking to the Most Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury) and French pilgrim Audrey Vanpeperstraete.
Hundreds of young people are expected to join the Archbishop and Diocese of Canterbury on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral.
It is thought around 700 children, aged under 18, will make their way across Kent to the Cathedral, where a special service will be held to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at 12 noon.
It will then be followed by a lively youth-led service, including prayers, workshops and activities.
Archbishop Justin Welby highlights the hardship of suffering through conflicts in his Easter message
The Archbishop of Canterbury will use his Easter sermon to highlight the hardship of people suffering from conflict around the world and in Britain.
Speaking later today from Canterbury Cathedral, Archbishop Justin Welby will say: 'In Syria mothers cry for their children and husbands. In the Ukraine neighbours cry because the future is precarious and dangerous. In Rwanda tears are still shed each day as the horror of genocide is remembered.
'In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt. Asylum seekers weep with loneliness and missing far away families.'
The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised local churches for working together to help people who need to use food banks. The Most Reverend Justin Welby was speaking after the annual Good Friday Procession of Witness in Dover this morning.
He led residents and church-goers through the town and up to St Mary's in Castro Church, at Dover Castle. Earlier, he spoke to soup kitchen and food bank volunteers.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been leading church-goers and local residents through Dover in the Procession of Witness. He carried a cross through the town, stopping to preach to people in Market Square. He then carried the cross up to St Mary's in Castro Church, at Dover Castle.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has led the Procession of Witness through Dover. He led residents and church-goers through the town and up to St Mary's in Castro Church, at Dover Castle. Earlier, he spoke to soup kitchen and food bank volunteers.