The Church of England has voted to allow women to be ordained as bishops for the first time in its history.
After almost five hours of debate at the University of York on Monday, the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England, approved the proposal to allow women to take up senior roles in the Church.
This breaks a hitherto unbroken tradition of exclusively male bishops inherited from the first Christians almost 2,000 years ago.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said he was “delighted” but some opponents said they were unconvinced by the concessions offered to them. On her part, June Osborne, Reverend and Dean of Salisbury, said it was a “historic day.”
“I don’t think you can overstate the fact that the Church of England allowing women to take up the role of bishop is going to change the Church.
“I think it’s going to change our society as well because it’s one more step in accepting that women are really and truly equal in spiritual authority, as well as in leadership in society,” she said.
Some Anglicans see it as a “cosmic shift” arguing that the Church’s theology has been changed by its acceptance that men and women are equally eligible to lead and teach Christianity.
Women serve as bishops in the United States; Australia, Canada and New Zealand but Anglican churches in many developing countries do not even ordain them as priests.
In 2012, a previous vote was backed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy but blocked by traditionalist lay members.
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