Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Diocese of Washington
Ecclesiastical province Province III
Congregations 88
Members 40,342 (2014)
Rite Episcopal
Cathedral Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Current leadership
Bishop Mariann Budde

Location of the Diocese of Washington
Episcopal Church House on Mount St. Alban, near the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is the ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington in the United States.

Its principal church, bishop's seat and spiritual center is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, unofficially known as the Washington National Cathedral, located on Mount Saint Alban (one of the highest points of the National Capital) at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, N.W. in Washington, D.C. The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is a member "see" of the greater The Episcopal Church in the United States of America, (ECUSA; previously known as the "Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America"), which is led by the Presiding Bishop of the national church. The Episcopal Church is in turn is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion under the titular leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace outside London, in England. The Diocese's active youth ministry, abbreviated the EDOW COY (Committee on Youth) sponsors many events, such as a Lock-In in the Washington National Cathedral and Middle and High School retreats held in nearby summer camps.


Since its creation in 1895 from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the territory has included the District of Columbia, adjacent suburban Maryland counties of Prince George's and Montgomery, and the southern Maryland counties of Charles County and St. Mary's County.

The land now known as the District of Columbia was once part of Prince George's County, Maryland. A congregation which later became known as Rock Creek parish was founded in 1712, and by seven years later had built a chapel of ease for (Broad Creek Parish), which was the spiritual counterpart to secular government in Prince George's County. The congregation built a larger, Georgian style building in 1775, which is now known as St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish (Washington, D.C.). It is the oldest religious institution within the District of Columbia. The former glebe (farm to support the parish priest) became the non-denominational Rock Creek Cemetery, now also home to the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.

As European settlement moved westward and the area's population increased, additional congregations began and built chapels within what Maryland's General Assembly in 1776 designated Montgomery County. These congregations had split off from Broad or Rock Creek parish and became Prince George's Parish in 1726 (later Christ Episcopal Church (Rockville, Maryland)) and Eden or Sugarland Parish in 1737 (which later became St. Peter's Church (Poolesville, Maryland)), only to be reassigned to the newly formed diocese of Washington over a century later.

After the American Revolutionary War, both Maryland and Virginia donated land to form the new federal District of Columbia. Additional congregations which ultimately became parishes formed much nearer the Potomac River at this time, including Christ Church, Washington Parish (a/k/a Navy Yard; 1794) and St. John's Episcopal Church, Georgetown Parish (1796). After the destruction of the War of 1812, with the Burning of Washington in August 1814, St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square (1815) was built facing historic Lafayette Square across from the rebuilt "President's House", at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., (in the historic Lafayette Square Historic District) which later became known as the "Executive Mansion" and later the White House. St. John's has been long known as the "Church of the Presidents", visited frequently by neighboring chief executives and is the traditional site for an early morning prayer service and mass during inauguration days on March 4 and later January 20. Another historic episcopal church formed in the capital city, and which hosted nearby Maryland diocesan conventions, is the Church of the Epiphany (Washington, D.C.). Parishes formed during the 19th Century's "Oxford Movement" included St. Paul's Church on K Street, and St. James' Church on Capitol Hill. At least six historic African-American parishes formed in the capital city during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.[1]

Construction of the Gothic Revival "Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and the Diocese of Washington" (usually known as the Washington National Cathedral) on Mount Saint Albans at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in northwest Washington began with a charter issued by the United States Congress in 1893 and on September 29, 1907, the cornerstone was laid in the presence of 26th President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of 20,000 and continued with fits and starts until its general completion in the early 1990s, with a ceremony attended by 41st President, George H.W. Bush, serving as a "national house of prayer for all people" and becoming a national landmark for the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and icon for the Anglican Communion in the world.


The first African-American bishop for the Diocese was elected and ordained with John Thomas Walker as the sixth prelate in 1977 who served until his death 12 years later. After the eighth bishop of Washington, John Bryson Chane, announced his intention to retire in the fall of 2011,[2] a diocesan convention on June 18, 2011 elected Mariann Edgar Budde as its first female diocesan bishop. She was ordained and consecrated on November 12, 2011.

Bishops of Washington

Bishop of Washington Name Dates
1st Henry Yates Satterlee 1896–1908
2nd Alfred Harding 1909–1923
3rd James Edward Freeman 1923–1943
4th Angus Dun 1944–1962
5th William Forman Creighton 1962–1977
6th John Thomas Walker 1977-1989 (Coadjutor, 1976–1977; died in office September 30, 1989)
7th Ronald H. Haines 1990-2000 (Bishop of Washington pro tempore 1989-1990)
8th John Bryson Chane 2002- 2011
9th Mariann Edgar Budde 2011 -

Suffragan and Assisting Bishops

See also


External links

Coordinates: 38°55′50″N 77°4′15″W / 38.93056°N 77.07083°W / 38.93056; -77.07083

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