Diocese of The Arctic

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Diocese of The Arctic
Ecclesiastical province Rupert's Land
Coordinates 63°44′51″N 068°31′00″W / 63.74750°N 68.51667°W / 63.74750; -68.51667 (St. Jude's Cathedral, Iqaluit)Coordinates: 63°44′51″N 068°31′00″W / 63.74750°N 68.51667°W / 63.74750; -68.51667 (St. Jude's Cathedral, Iqaluit)
Parishes 31
Churches 51
Rite Anglican
Cathedral St. Jude's Cathedral, Iqaluit
Current leadership
Bishop David W. Parsons
Suffragan Darren McCartney

The Diocese of The Arctic is a diocese of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land of the Anglican Church of Canada. It is by far the largest of the thirty dioceses in Canada, comprising almost 4,000,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi), or one-third the land mass of the country.[1] As the name indicates, the diocese encompasses the Arctic region of Canada including the entirety of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Nunavik region of northern Quebec.[1][2] The See city is Iqaluit, Nunavut, and its approximately 18,000 Anglicans (over one-third of the total population) are served by thirty-one parishes.[3] The administrative offices of the diocese are located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.[4]

The diocese is well known for its igloo-shaped cathedral, St. Jude's, which was destroyed by fire in 2005 but subsequently rebuilt and opened in 2012.[5] It maintains a theological school, the Arthur Turner Training School in Iqaluit (formerly in Pangnirtung).[6] In 1996, Paul Idlout became the first Inuk bishop in the world (as suffragan bishop).

In 2002, Andrew Atagotaaluk became the first Inuk diocesan bishop in the world and the fifth bishop of The Arctic. Atagotaaluk retired at the end of 2012.

In June 2012, an electoral synod was held. David W. Parsons was elected to succeed as diocesan bishop and Darren McCartney as suffragan.


Originally, the region was part of the vast and sprawling Diocese of Rupert's Land, which at the time encompassed all of present-day Canada west of Ontario. Anglican activity in the Far North primarily took the form of missionary work among the Aboriginal First Nations and Inuit, undertaken for the most part by the evangelical Church Mission Society. In 1874, the Diocese of Rupert's Land was split into four dioceses one of which, Athabasca, included the present-day Diocese of The Arctic. In 1892, Atherbasca was subdivided to create the Diocese of Selkirk (coterminous with the Yukon) and the Diocese of Mackenzie River (coterminous with the Northwest Territories).

The Diocese of The Arctic was created from Athabasca in 1933, subsuming the Diocese of Mackenzie River and carving northern Quebec from the Diocese of Quebec, where—like Nunavut and the Northwest Territories—the majority of the population is indigenous. The first constituted synod was not convened, however, until 1972.[1]


Both the missionary history of the diocese and its particular cultural context contributes to its theology, which tends towards evangelicalism and conservatism. For instance, the diocese sparked controversy in 2005 when it banned the employment of "homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals",[7] as well as those who engage in sexual activity outside marriage, and its bishops have been outspokenly critical of what they perceive as the liberal tendencies of many southern dioceses.

Bishops David Parsons and Darren McCartney were the only Anglican Church of Canada bishops to attend GAFCON II, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 to 26 October 2013.[8]

List of bishops of The Arctic[edit]

Bishops of The Arctic
From Until Incumbent Notes
1933 1949 Archibald Fleming
1950 1973 Donald Marsh Died in office.
1974 1990 John Sperry
1991 2002 Chris Williams Suffragan bishop since 1987; coadjutor bishop since 1990.
2002 2012 Andrew Atagotaaluk first Inuit diocesan bishop. Retirement announced for 31 December 2012.[9]
2012 present David W. Parsons Consecrated coadjutor bishop at New St Jude's Cathedral, Iqaluit on 3 June 2012;[10] expected to succeed as diocesan 1 January 2013.

List of suffragan bishops[edit]

Suffragan bishops in The Arctic Diocese
From Until Incumbent Notes
1962  ?? H. G. Cook.
1980 1987 Jamie C. M. Clarke Translated to Military Ordinariate of the Canadian Forces.
1987 1991 Chris Williams Coadjutor bishop from 1990; diocesan bishop, 1991–2002
1996 2004 Paul Idlout First Inuk to become a bishop.
1999 2002 Andrew A. P. Atagotaaluk Coadjutor bishop from 2002; diocesan bishop, 2002-2012.
1999 2010 Larry Robertson Translated to Yukon.
2002 2010 Ben Arreak Was the team coordinator of the Inuktitut translation of the Bible, completed in 2012.
2012 present Darren McCartney Consecrated 3 June 2012 at New St Jude's.[11]


External links[edit]