Diocese of Rochester
|Diocese of Rochester|
|Archdeaconries||Bromley & Bexley, Rochester, Tonbridge|
|Bishop||James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester|
|Suffragan||Bishop of Tonbridge (vacant)|
|Archdeacons||Paul Wright, Archdeacon of Bromley & Bexley;
Clive Mansell, Archdeacon of Tonbridge;
Simon Burton-Jones, Archdeacon of Rochester
The Diocese of Rochester is a Church of England diocese in the English county of Kent and the Province of Canterbury. The cathedral church of the diocese is Rochester Cathedral in the former city of Rochester. The bishop's Latin episcopal signature is: "(firstname) Roffen", Roffensis being the genitive case of the Latin name of the see.
An ancient diocese, it was established with the authority of King Æthelberht of Kent by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 604 at the same time as the see of London. Only the adjacent Diocese of Canterbury is older in England. Its establishment was the first part of an unrealised plan conceived by Pope Gregory the Great for Augustine of Canterbury to consecrate 12 bishops in different places and another 12 for the prospective see (later province) of York.
The Rochester diocese includes 268 parish churches throughout:
The diocese is subdivided into three archdeaconries:
- Archdeaconry of Bromley & Bexley (Archdeacon: Paul Wright)
- Archdeaconry of Rochester (Archdeacon: Simon Burton-Jones)
- Archdeaconry of Tonbridge (Archdeacon: Clive Mansell);
The current diocesan boundaries roughly match its pre-19th century extent. On 1 January 1846 parishes in Hertfordshire from the dioceses of Lincoln and of London and Essex (from London diocese) were added to Rochester, while all West Kent parishes except those in the Rochester Deanery were transferred to the Diocese of Canterbury. In May 1877, Essex and Hertfordshire became part of the newly-created Diocese of St Albans. On 1 August 1877, the Diocese of Rochester gained some northern parts of Surrey from the Diocese of Winchester which were later transferred to the Diocese of Southwark at its creation in 1905.
The present diocesan bishop, the Bishop of Rochester, is James Langstaff. The diocese also has a suffragan bishop, the Bishop of Tonbridge, which see is currently vacant; the suffragan see of Tonbridge was created in 1959. Since 1994 the Bishop of Fulham (Jonathan Baker from 2013) has provided "alternative episcopal oversight" in the diocese (as well as in the London and Southwark dioceses) to parishes which do not accept the ordination of women to the priesthood. Baker is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop in the diocese for this ministry.
In addition to the diocesan and suffragan bishops, there are a number of other bishops licensed in the diocese:
- 2000–present: Michael Gear, a retired former Suffragan Bishop of Doncaster, who lives at Yalding and is also licensed in the Canterbury diocese.
- 2010–present: Stephen Venner, a retired Bishop of Dover, former Bishop for the Falkland Islands and Bishop to the Forces who lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, where he is licensed as an honorary assistant bishop. Venner is also licensed in the Diocese in Europe.
- 2010–present: Michael Turnbull, a retired former Bishop of Durham and Bishop of Rochester who lives in Sandwich in the neighbouring Diocese of Canterbury, where he is also licensed.
- 2011–present: Graham Cray, a retired Archbishops' Missioner and "Fresh Expressions" team leader and formerly Suffragan Bishop of Maidstone who lives in Harrietsham in the Canterbury diocese where he is also licensed.
- Debretts Peerage, 1968, p. 945.
- Bede, Ecclesiastical History, II.3
- Bede, Ecclesiastical History, I.29
- "The Dioceses of England: An Outline History", p. 34.
- The London Gazette: . 17 July 1877. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- Gear, Michael Frederick. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Venner, Stephen Squires. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Turnbull, Michael. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Cray, Graham Alan. Who's Who 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Official website
- Parish churches in the Diocese of Rochester
- Church In Society, a community charity associated with the Dioceses of Canterbury and Rochester