Philip Russell (bishop)

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The Most Reverend
Philip Russell
Archbishop of Cape Town
Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Church Anglican
Province Southern Africa
Diocese Cape Town
See Cape Town
In office 1981–1986
Predecessor Bill B. Burnett
Successor Desmond Tutu
Ordination 1981
Personal details
Born (1919-10-21)21 October 1919
Cowies Hill, South Africa
Died 25 July 2013(2013-07-25) (aged 93)
Adelaide, Australia
Previous post Bishop of Natal

Philip Welsford Richmond Russell, MBE (21 October 1919 – 25 July 2013) was a South African Anglican bishop.

Personal life[edit]

Russell was born 21 October 1919 in Cowies Hill, South Africa and died 25 July 2013 in Adelaide, Australia.[1]

He was educated in Durban at Clifton Preparatory School and Durban High School.[2] Having trained as a quantity surveyor, he served in World War II as part of a bomb disposal unit in the South African Engineering Corps. He was awarded the MBE in 1943 for his service.[3] It was during this time he felt called to the priesthood. He studied at Rhodes University and St Paul's Theological College in Grahamstown. He was ordained as a deacon in 1940 and as a priest in 1941. He married Violet Hogarth in 1945 and had four children, Susan, June, Pauline and Christopher.[4] After the death of his wife,[when?] Russell moved to Adelaide, Australia, where three of his four children had settled.

Church career[edit]

After World War II he served in various parishes in the Diocese of Natal including Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal, Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, Kloof and Pinetown. He was consecrated bishop, and served as suffragan bishop of Cape Town from 1966 to 1970.[4]

From 1970 to 1974 he was the bishop of the new Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth and, from 1974 to 1981, he was Bishop of Natal.

In 1980 he was named Archbishop of Cape Town[5] by the Episcopal Synod of the Anglican Church after the Diocese of Cape Town was unable to decide between Desmond Tutu and Michael Nuttall, the then Bishop of Pretoria. He retired in 1986 and was succeeded by Desmond Tutu.


As a parish priest in country towns, he started expressing his doubts about Apartheid in sermons. In 1962 he saw black people and white people sitting together and talking for the first time, while at a church council.[6] He served on the council of Diakonia, an ecumenical body which was very active in both the spiritual and social service sides of Christian life. He was an ardent supporter of human rights through the South African Institute of Race Relations and the Civil Rights League. His ecumenical enthusiasm led him to an active involvement in Diakonia, Vuleka Trust, the South African Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.[2]



  1. ^ Anon (2013). "Tributes to South Africa's former Primate". Anglican Communion News Service. Anglican Communion Office. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Anon (2003). "Diakonia's tribute to Archbishop Russell" (PDF). Anglican News. 13 (1&2): 3. 
  3. ^ "No. 36209". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 October 1943. p. 4542. 
  4. ^ a b Anon (1 August 1992). The International Who's Who 1992–93. Taylor & Francis. p. 1409. ISBN 978-0-946653-84-3. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Anne R. Kotzé (1992). Bishopscourt and its residents. Creda Press. p. 55. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "The beginning of the end of Apartheid" (PDF). Cathedral Magazine. June 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2008. [dead link]
Anglican Church of Southern Africa titles
New diocese Bishop of Port Elizabeth
Succeeded by
Bruce Read Evans
Preceded by
Vernon Inman
Bishop of Natal
Succeeded by
Michael Nuttall
Preceded by
Bill Burnett
Archbishop of Cape Town
Succeeded by
Desmond Tutu