Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Role of the Archbishop of York

Together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York is a leading spokesman on behalf of the Church of England.

He is also one of the Presidents of the General Synod and of the Archbishop's Council.

He is also Chairman and President of numerous other Church bodies.

The role of the Archbishop of York is varied. He is Primate of England and Archbishop of the Province of York. He also leads the twelve dioceses in the northern province of the Church of England.

A pastoral role  

The Archbishop of York is also the Bishop of the Diocese of York.

The Church of England is arranged geographically into 42 areas called Dioceses. Each diocese is under the care of a Bishop, and covers every part of England. So the Archbishop does what every other Bishop of the Diocese does: he's responsible for the care and encouragement of the clergy and people of the Diocese. The Diocese of York is one of the largest geographically in the Church of England with 470 parishes.

The Archbishop works hard to ensure the smooth running of the Diocese of York within the Church of England. He is involved with confirmations in parish churches, the ordinations of deacons and priests. He works closely with the Suffragan Bishops, Archdeacons, Rural Deans, the Diocesan office and the Registry.

A national and international role...

The Archbishop receives requests from other Dioceses to attend special events as the leader of the northern province. And if there is a real problem in a Diocese, such as clergy disciplinary measures, the Archbishop is involved with these issues.

As the Archbishop represents a significant number of dioceses in the Church of England, there are often international aspects to his activities and you'll often find him representing the Church of England internationally and at major meetings. During 2007, the Archbishop visited Tanzania, Canada, Australia, Mauritius, and the West Indies.  Recently he has also visited Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, Jamaica, Egypt, The Ivory Coast, Kenya, New Zealand and Australia.