Archbishop of Canterbury says 2016 has left world with more fear and division

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said in his annual Christmas sermon that 2016 has left the world "less predictable and certain" and with more "fear and division".

The Most Rev Justin Welby spoke of the power of God against the "fear of terror" and the "economies of despair" during his address at the Eucharist service at Canterbury Cathedral on Christmas Day.

Rev Welby, who leads the Church of England and the global communion of 85 million Anglican Christians, also criticised society's shared economic values of progress for not delivering "economic justice".

The Archbishop has spoken out on a number of issues during 2016, including the aftermath of various terror attacks, the US election and Britain's exit from the European Union.

  • He used his Easter message to focus on a spate of terror attacks, urging people not to be afraid.

Justin Welby told ITV News in October the 'unspeakable' bombardment of trapped civilians in Aleppo 'compared with some of the great atrocities of the last century'. Credit: ITV News
  • He urged people to "pray for France" in July after a priest was killed during a church siege in Normandy.

  • On a personal note, he said in April the discovery that Sir Winston Churchill's last private secretary was his biological father was a "complete surprise".

Justin Welby discovered his biological father was the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne rather than his father Gavin Welby. Credit: PA

In his Eucharist address Rev Welby said his experience of seeing those in hardship in 2016 had underlined, not undermined, his faith in God.