London: The Archbishop of Canterbury has offered to host one or two refugee families in a four-bedroom cottage on the grounds of his Lambeth Palace residence in London, a spokeswoman said on Sunday.
"As a Christian who leads the Church of England it is something he feels absolutely passionate about," a spokeswoman for Welby said, adding that the building could house "a family or two".
"As the archbishop has said, Jesus was a refugee."
Anglican leader Justin Welby`s offer comes after Pope Francis said the Vatican would host two refugee families and urged all of Europe`s tens of thousands of Catholic parishes to host a family.
It was confirmed on Friday that one refugee family has already moved into the Vatican.
Welby`s office said that the archbishop had been considering his move for "a while".
The cottage is currently being redecorated.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that the rent for the refugees will be paid for by charitable funds under the archbishop`s personal control.
Welby has been critical of Prime Minister David Cameron`s recent offer to take in an extra 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, calling it a "very slim response".
The archbishop lives with his family on the top floor of the palace and this month opened up the rest of the building to a new community of young Christians from around the world.
Lambeth Palace, which dates back to the 15th century, lies on the south bank of the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament.