Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leader of the world's 85 million-strong Anglican communion, will take in a Syrian refugee family in a cottage at his official London residence next month. His offer comes on the back of a similar gesture made by the Pope.

Welby had said he was offering sanctuary to refugees at the Lambeth Palace in September 2016. The Archbishop lives at the Lambeth Palace on the south bank of the Thames with his family and two children.

Paul McGlone, Lambeth Council's deputy leader said that the refugee family is due to arrive at the Lambeth Palace next month. "We have ... worked with the Home Office and Lambeth Palace to support the Archbishop's undertaking to house a family within the grounds of Lambeth Palace," the council's press office quoted McGlone as telling fellow councillors.

Lambeth Palace spokesman however declined to confirm details of the family's move, only saying that they were "working with Lambeth Council and the Home Office towards a family moving in," according to Reuters.

Anna Musgrave, the Refugee Council's said: "It's fantastic that the Archbishop of Canterbury along with many communities up and down the country, has been so eager to help offer shelter to refugees."

A spokeswoman for Welby had said in September: "As a Christian who leads the Church of England it is something he feels absolutely passionate about. There are refugees here who are desperate for sanctuary from war-torn places and the archbishop is completely torn about their situation and wants to make a difference."

justin welby
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Reuters

Welby had been highly critical of Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to resettle only 20,000 Syrian refugees, saying that it was a "very slim response" considering the size of the refugee crisis. He had said in a House of Lords debate that the UK should do more to carry some of the weight put on Europe by the large number of people fleeing devastation.

The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has also called on Roman Catholic organisations to take in families and displaced individuals. "It is not enough to say 'have courage, hang in there. May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe host a family."