Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced his departure from his post Friday effective December, 2012. He has accepted a position as Master of Magdalene College of Cambridge University that will start in January 2013.
It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision, he said according to a statement on his website.
I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to continuing to serve the Church's mission and witness as best I can in the years ahead.
Williams, 61, thanked those in the Anglican community who brought vision, hope and excitement to his ministry.
He served as Archbishop of Canterbury, the foremost role in the Church of England, for the past 10 years.
His tenure as Archbishop was marked with political missteps and a growing divide in the worldwide Anglican church. Williams was widely attacked by conservatives for his more liberal views regarding homosexuality and female bishops.
These conflicts with the church would not go away however long you struggle with them, he said according to BBC.
Queen Elizabeth II has been informed of his decision. As the head of the Church of England, the queen will appoint his successor. Rumors surrounding the issue favor John Sentamu, the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York and Bishop of London Richard Chartres. Both candidates are older than Williams.
Williams became the Church of England's 104th archbishop in 2002. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he served as spiritual leader for more than 70 million Anglicans worldwide.
According to a statement on the college's website Williams has the capacity and vision to guide the College in a time of unprecedented change in higher education.
Williams said he is looking forward to being part of such a lively and intellectually rigorous community.