Archbishop Rowan Williams, a man who faced an impossible task
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, well-liked within the Anglican Communion but often an irritant to the British government, has struggled with the two issues that have dominated the religious agenda: gay bishops and same-sex unions.
After announcing his resignation from a turbulent church, he will probably return to the gentler world of academia a worn man after a decade of wrestling with the near-impossible task of reconciling traditionalists and liberals within the 80-million strong Anglican Communion.
Seen as a bookish theologian, Williams tried to define Anglican positions more clearly and strengthen his central role.
Unlike Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism is a loose grouping of churches whose head has no direct power over all members.
Considered a liberal when he became archbishop in 2002, he constantly sacrificed his private beliefs to maintain the unity of the Church.
But the poet and linguist increasingly struck a forlorn figure, suffering a series of blows to his personal authority by the unyielding factions.