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.
Diocese of Rochester
|Archdeaconries||Bromley & Bexley, Rochester, Tonbridge|
St Saviour's Pro-Cathedral, Southwark (1897–1905)
|Bishop||Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Rochester|
|Suffragan||Simon Burton-Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge|
|Archdeacons||Andy Wooding Jones, Archdeacon of Rochester|
Sharon Copestake, Archdeacon of Tonbridge
Archdeacon of Bromley & Bexley (vacant)
An ancient diocese, it was established with the authority of King Æthelberht of Kent by 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: vacant)
- Archdeaconry of Rochester (Archdeacon: Andy Wooding Jones)
- Archdeaconry of Tonbridge (Archdeacon: Sharon Copestake);
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 Bishop of Rochester is Jonathan Gibbs since the confirmation of his election, on 24 May 2022. The diocese also has a suffragan bishop: Simon Burton-Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge; 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:
- 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.
- "The Dioceses of England: An Outline History", p. 47.
- Debretts Peerage, 1968, p. 945.
- Bede, Ecclesiastical History, II.3
- Bede, Ecclesiastical History, I.29
- "The Dioceses of England...", p. 34.
- "No. 24483". The London Gazette. 17 July 1877. p. 4189.
- "New Bishop of Rochester announced". Diocese of Rochester. 31 March 2022. Archived from the original on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
- "(Section: Forthcoming Events)". St Mary-le-Bow. Archived from the original on 4 June 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
- "Venner, Stephen Squires". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 18 August 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Turnbull, Michael". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Cray, Graham Alan". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2014 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Official website
- Parish churches in the Diocese of Rochester
- Church In Society, a community charity associated with the Dioceses of Canterbury and Rochester