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Canons


Canon: OF FORMATION OF DIOCESES

Chapter:  C21 DIOCESES


Part: C

Formation of Dioceses
1 The Metropolitan and Bishops of the Province in Synod shall have the power, subject to the following restrictions, of subdividing existing Dioceses, of uniting two Dioceses under one Bishop, of transferring any district from one Diocese to another, to which such district is contiguous, and of sending forth Missionary Bishops to regions beyond the existing Province.

Establishment of new Diocese

2 The Metropolitan and Bishops of the Province in Synod shall not establish a new Diocese within the Province unless they are satisfied that there is need for its formation, that it is capable of being governed by synodical government and that its staff and finances are sufficient for it to function as a unit of the Church.

Appointment of Task Team

3. The Synod of Bishops shall appoint annually five Bishops to the Metropolitan’s Executive, to serve as an advisory panel for the Metropolitan in this and any other matter where provided or otherwise appropriate. When the Metropolitan becomes aware of events, developments or reasons which indicate to him or her that in his or her opinion after consultation with and with the support of the Metropolitan’s Executive, the affairs of a Diocese merit an inquiry or investigation in relation to possible support, or remedial or other action that might need to be taken by the Diocese or the Province or both, he or she shall have the power to appoint a task team to inquire into or investigate these matters at the cost of the Common Provincial Fund.

The task team shall consist of not less than two Bishops currently in office or retired, and two lay persons, one learned in the law and one in financial matters. It shall have been given access to Diocesan clergy and staff and all Diocesan records, and shall have the power to take whatever action it may deem to be needed urgently, to protect Diocesan interests or assets or both or to preserve evidence, and to report apparent grave or criminal acts or omissions to the appropriate secular authority. It shall report to the Metropolitan, who shall report to the next session of the Synod of Bishops, and the Synod of Bishops which shall make whatever decision it feels appropriate. The Metropolitan may, however, take such further action, in consultation with the Metropolitan’s Executive, as may be needed before the next session of the Synod of Bishops. Without derogating from the generality of this power, the Synod of Bishops –

(a) may refer the matter to trial under Canon 38, in which event -
(i) the provisions of Canon 38 (3)(c ) shall not apply in the case;

(ii) the task team will now be deemed to be the Board of Preliminary Inquiry with an additional member (namely, the one learned in financial matters) and its report to be the report of the Board of Preliminary Inquiry;

(iii) the Synod of Bishops will appoint two other Bishops, who are not in the task team, to be the Presenters to draw up the charges in Articles of Presentment;

(iv) the Board of Preliminary Inquiry, as it is now constituted, shall invite the Accused to submit a written answer, if he or she so desires, within the thirty days provided for in Canon 38(3)(b); and

(v) it shall then consider any answer submitted and report to the Metropolitan within thirty days of its appointment, being the date of the Synod of Bishops’ decision to refer the matter to trial, at which point the Metropolitan shall proceed in terms of Canon 38(4); or

(b) may decide to proceed to require the Bishop concerned to resign, in terms of Canon 14(2); or

(c) may upon a vote of two-thirds of the Diocesan Bishops present require the Bishop concerned to take leave of absence from his or her Diocese indefinitely and appoint, under the hand and seal of the Metropolitan (or if the Metropolitan is the Bishop concerned, then through the Dean of the Province or if the Dean is debarred for any reason, the Diocesan Bishop senior by consecration) a Vicar General with authority to administer the Spiritualities of the Diocese and to maintain discipline according to the Canons, until such time as the Synod of Bishops decides to lift this suspension and withdraw the leave of absence, or the Bishop ceases to hold office as such for any reason: in this case the Synod of Bishops shall during the period of absence make arrangements for the accommodation of the Bishop elsewhere in the Province and for the payment of his or her stipend; or

(d) may make any other decision.

Union of Dioceses
4. No two Dioceses shall be permanently united except by the act of the Provincial Synod.

Relimitation by bishops
5. During the incumbency of any Bishop, it shall not be lawful for the Synod of Bishops to alter the limits of his Diocese without his concurrence. But any alteration agreed upon by the Synod of Bishops shall take effect immediately on the vacancy of the See.

Relimitation and Diocesan Synod

6. No alterations in the limits of a Diocese shall be carried into effect without an opportunity being given to the Synods of the respective Dioceses affected by the proposed change to consider the proposal, and to communicate their opinions thereon to the Synod of Bishops.

Keywords: new dioceses, formation of dioceses


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