THE Archbishop of York has paid tribute to Desmond Tutu following his death, saying "the world itself feels a little smaller without him".

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, was speaking after the South African clergyman and Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist died in Cape Town on Boxing Day, aged 90.

He described Archbishop Tutu as one of the Anglican church's greatest saints and said as he celebrates the Eucharist today, he might just "dance a little jig in thankful memory of this wonderful human being".

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Archbishop Stephen Cottrell said: "One of the great and abiding images of the second half of the 20th century was Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela dancing in the courtroom at the end of the closing session of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Cape Town.

"Nelson Mandela asked his friend Desmond Tutu to chair the Commission.

"It was a bold and creative way of helping a nation divided brutally between black and white learn to live in glorious technicolour by facing up to the horrors of its past and by putting the Christian imperative for forgiveness alongside the need for truth as the only way of achieving reconciliation.

"And Desmond Tutu was asked to chair it because this incredibly joyful little disciple of Jesus Christ was one of the few people in South Africa other than Nelson Mandela himself, who could unite the nation and carry the trust of everyone.

"In this respect, he was a giant.

"The world itself feels a little smaller without him.

"His expansive vision of how the Christian faith shapes the whole of life has touched many hearts and changed many lives.

"The Anglican church in particular gives thanks for one of its greatest saints.

"ut Christian people everywhere, and all people of goodwill, will today be mourning the loss of someone who showed the world what following Jesus looks like and where it leads.

"Our prayers today are particularly with his family and with our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church of South Africa.

"When I go to my chapel this morning to celebrate the Eucharist on this, Saint Stephen’s day, I may dance a little jig in thankful memory of this wonderful human being.

"May he rest in peace and rise in glory."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, formerly the Bishop of Durham, described Tutu as “a man of words and action”.


Piyushi Kotecha, chief executive of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, and chairman Niclas Kjellstrom-Matseke said in a statement that Tutu was “a living embodiment of faith in action”.

In a statement on the foundation’s website, they added he spoke “boldly against racism, injustice, corruption and oppression, not just in apartheid South Africa but wherever in the world he saw wrongdoing, especially when it impacted the most vulnerable and voiceless in society.”

According to the trust, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town. A cause of death has not been given.

The Northern Echo:

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa”.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead,” he tweeted.

“We pray that Archbishop Tutu’s soul will rest in peace but that his spirit will stand sentry over the future of our nation.”

The Northern Echo:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Archbishop Desmond Tutu would be remembered for his leadership and humour.

He said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa – and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.”

Strictly Come Dancing stars Oti and Motsi Mabuse, who grew up in South Africa, joined a host of people in remembering Tutu.

Oti, a dancer on the show, tweeted: “Oh no sad news” and said it was a “major loss” for South Africa.

Strictly Judge Motsi shared a quote on Twitter which read: “Forgiving is not forgetting; its actually remembering – remembering and not using your right to hit back. It’s a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened. R.I.P Desmond Tutu.”

Singer Boy George described him as a “beautiful soul” who “gave me faith that some humans do have a strong love frequency”.