The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the Anglican communion faces a “rupture” following divisions over homosexuality.

Dr Rowan Williams told the BBC that he fears a split that could take years to heal.

“If there is a rupture, it’s going to be a more visible rupture, it is not going to settle down quietly to being a federation,” he said.

“And I suppose my anxiety about it is that if the communion is broken we may be left with even less than a federation.”

The Anglican Church has been split over the issue of sexuality since the ordination of the openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson in the United States of America in 2003.

Last year, PinkNews.co.uk reported that senior African bishops claimed that the Church of England was “evil” to allow the ordination of gay clergy.

The “Global South”, a group of ultra-right wing, anti-gay bishops led by the Nigerian archbishop, Dr Peter Akinola in letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, urge him to reconsider his personal views on homosexuality: “we urge you to rethink your personal view and embrace the Church’s consensus and to act on it, based as it is on the clear witness of Scripture.”

Dr Williams has in the past been tolerant of gay clergy and at a meeting of the General Synod this week in London, he called for reconciliation over the issue of gay clergy.

Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Anglican Bishop, said that he believed that the Anglican Communion will eventually come to embrace gay men and women, although it is unlikely to be in his lifetime.