Bishop of Rangoon
|Bishop of Rangoon|
Now a province
|First incumbent||Jonathan Holt Titcomb|
The Lord Bishop of Rangoon was the Anglican bishop responsible for the diocese of Rangoon in the province of Calcutta from 1877 to 1970. Beforehand British Burma, then part of the Indian Empire, had come under the guidance of the Bishop of Calcutta, Metropolitan of India. In 1966 the last non-Burmese bishop was evicted by the Burmese authorities and in 1970 the Diocese of Rangoon became the Church of the Province of Burma, and the bishop was elevated to Archbishop in that church.
He was officially styled The Right Reverend Father in God, (Name), by Divine Providence Lord Bishop of Rangoon, but this full title was rarely used, the majority of the time the bishop being addressed either Bishop or Lord Bishop of Rangoon. In signing his name, the bishop's surname would be replaced by the name of his diocese. Therefore J.O.E. Bloggs would become J.O.E. Rangoon in official correspondence.
Pay & residence
In 1884 the pay of the Bishop was the not insubstantial salary of £960 per annum. The official residence of the Bishop was throughout the existence of the diocese Bishop's Court in Rangoon.
It was decided that the area of Southern Burma, then part of the British Indian Empire required a more substantial ecclesiastical presence than the Bishop of Calcutta could provide. For decades the American baptist missionaries and members of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts had been making inroads among the Burmese and Karenni peoples, and therefore in 1877 the diocese of Rangoon, subject to the diocese of Calcutta was established by Letters Patent. Jonathan Holt Titcomb, a parish priest in the diocese of Winchester which had contributed a large sum of money to setting up the diocese, was elected the first Bishop of Rangoon and so appointed on 17 December 1877.
The Bishop was formerly appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Secretary of State for India, as part of the Church of England in Indian Empire and Ceylon. However, in 1927 in response to growing agitation on the part of the bishops in India the British Parliament passed legislation to bring to an end the Church of England's jurisdiction over the church in India. Consequently the Diocese of Rangoon became a major part of the new, autonomous Church of India, Burma and Ceylon. In Burma, the Bishop was permitted to title himself as head of the Church of Burma.
The Bishop continued to assume his duties in Burma after the independence of that country in 1948. However in 1966 the Burmese government forced all Western missionaries to leave, including the then Bishop V.G. Shearburn. His assistant bishop, Francis Ah Mya was appointed Bishop in his place. In 1970 the Church of Burma, hitherto part of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (the then-current incarnation of the 1927 creation) became the Anglican Church of the Province of Burma, and the Bishopric of Rangoon was elevated to Archbishop.
- Jonathan Holt Titcomb 1877–1882
- John Miller Strachan 1882–1903
- Arthur Mesac Knight 1903–1909
- Rolleston Sterritt Fyffe 1910–1928
- Norman Henry Tubbs 1928–1934
- George Algernon West 1835–1954
- Victor George Shearburn 1955–1966
- Francis Ah Mya 1966–1970
In 1966 all foreign missionaries were ejected from Burma. In 1970, the then Bishop of Rangoon Francis Ah Mya broke the Church of Burma away from the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon and became Archbishop of Rangoon.
- Hunter, W.W. (1886). The Imperial Gazeteer of India. Trübner & Company.
- Representative Committee (1885). The Official Year-Book of the Church of England, 1885. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.