Diocese of Chichester
|Diocese of Chichester|
|Archdeaconries||Chichester, Horsham, Lewes & Hastings|
|Bishop||Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester|
|Suffragans||Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham
Bishop of Lewes (Vacant)
|Archdeacons||Douglas McKittrick, List of Archdeacons of Chichester
Roger Combes, Archdeacon of Horsham
Philip Jones, Archdeacon of Lewes & Hastings
The Diocese of Chichester is a Church of England diocese based in Chichester, covering Sussex. It was created in 1075 to replace the old Diocese of Selsey, which was based at Selsey Abbey from 681. The cathedral is Chichester Cathedral and the bishop is the Bishop of Chichester. It is part of the Province of Canterbury.
The Bishop of Chichester has overall episcopal oversight of the diocese, but is primarily in charge of the Chichester Episcopal Area which covers Chichester and its environs and also the City of Brighton and Hove.
The Bishop of Chichester is assisted by the Area Bishops of Horsham and Lewes who between them oversee the diocese. The Horsham Episcopal Area covers most of West Sussex (apart from Chichester and some parishes to the west of Hove) and some parishes in East Sussex to the north of Brighton and east of East Grinstead, together with one parish in Kent. The Lewes Episcopal Area covers most of East Sussex (apart from some parishes to the north of Brighton, and east of East Grinstead) and a few small areas of Kent.
The three archdeaconries of the diocese are Chichester, Horsham, and Lewes & Hastings. The Archdeaconry of Chichester covers the coastal region of West Sussex, along with Brighton and Hove. The Archdeaconry of Horsham covers the remainder of West Sussex (Horsham Episcopal Area, except the coastal region). The Archdeaconry of Lewes & Hastings covers East Sussex (Lewes Episcopal Area).
The 21 deaneries of the diocese are:
- Arundel and Bognor
- Battle and Bexhill
- East Grinstead
- Lewes and Seaford
Christianity was introduced to the British Isles during the Roman occupation. When the Romans departed, there were waves of non-Christian invasions from northern Europe; these were mainly Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Celtic Christianity was driven, with the Celts, into the remote western parts of the islands. The south of England was settled by Saxons. After the invasions had finished, Roman Missionaries evangelized the south east of England and Celtic Missionaries the rest of the British Isles.
The Kingdom of Sussex remained steadfastly non-Christian until the arrival of Saint Wilfrid in 681 AD. Wilfrid built his cathedral church in Selsey, and dedicated it to Saint Peter. The original structure would have been made largely of wood. The stones from the old cathedral would have been used in the later church. Some stonework discovered in a local garden wall was believed to have come from the palm cross that stood outside the original cathedral, and is now integrated into the war memorial that is in the perimeter wall outside the church.
The cathedral founded at Selsey was probably built, where the chancel of the old church still remains, at Church Norton . Selsey Abbey was the first seat of the South Saxon See. The seat was moved to Chichester in 1075 under William the Conqueror.
In 2011 the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed an enquiry into long-running child protection problems in the diocese. The interim enquiry report found that there had been "an appalling history" over two decades of child protection problems, and many children had suffered hurt and damage. Because of concerns that safeguarding still remained dysfunctional, Lambeth Palace took over the oversight of clergy appointments and the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the diocese. Previously Baroness Butler-Sloss had carried out a review of historic child sex abuse problems that had led to the conviction of a priest in 2008.
On 13 November 2012 two former clergy of the diocese, including the former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball, were arrested by police investigating allegations of child sex abuse in the 1980s and 1990s. The arrests followed the submission of reports by a safeguarding consultant from Lambeth Palace to the police.
On 5 April 2013 Hove Crown Court convicted Michael Mytton and Rev. Keith Wilkie Denford of sexually assaulting boys between 1987 and 1994 when they had been at St John the Evangelist's Church, Burgess Hill in Chichester Diocese; Mytton as organist and Denford as vicar. St John the Evangelist's had employed Mytton despite his having been forced to leave a parish in Uckfield in 1981 because he was convicted of committing two acts of gross indecency with a 12-year-old boy. The two are due to be sentenced on 2 May.
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