October 12, 2009

Episcopal Church Canons and Overlapping Jurisdictions

Searching through the constitution & canons of The Episcopal Church sometimes leads to interesting discoveries. Today, I ran into Canon I.11, Of Missionary Jurisdictions. Here is Section 4. It reads as follows:
Sec. 4. Notice shall be sent to all Archbishops and Metropolitans, and all Presiding Bishops, of Churches in communion with this Church, of the establishment of any Area Mission, or of the organization or change of status of any Missionary Diocese outside the United States; and of the consecration, or assignment, of a Missionary Bishop therefor.

It is hereby declared as the judgment of this Church that no two Bishops of Churches in communion with each other should exercise jurisdiction in the same place; except as may be defined by a concordat adopted jointly by the competent authority of each of the said Churches, after consultation with the appropriate inter-Anglican body.
What is interesting is the second paragraph. The notion that there should be no overlapping jurisdictions in the Anglican Communion is, for The Episcopal Church, not simply a vague tradition, but an understanding enshrined in its canons. Ironically, I am living in a place where two bishops of the Anglican Communion, without any concordat, claim—or shortly will claim—jurisdiction.

Life is so interesting in Pittsburgh.


Apparently, this canon, in substantially its present form, was enacted in 1973 as Canon I.10. Somewhere along the line, it became Canon I.11. The paragraph in question is unchanged from what it was in 1973.

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