THE Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, a former Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, and a theologian and church historian who travelled widely and made close contacts with the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, died on Sunday, aged 74.
When he was consecrated as a suffragan for Basingstoke, in Winchester diocese, in 1994, he had been an Oxford don for more than 20 years, and was Chaplain and Fellow of Keble. He was among the first traditionalist bishops to be appointed after the General Synod’s decision to introduce women priests.
The Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, in a memoir this week described Dr Rowell as “unfailingly kind, warm, and hospitable”, and “wonderfully encouraging and helpful. Geoffrey valued highly his friendship with his clergy, and those of us who served as his priests and deacons will miss him dearly. For 12 years as Diocesan Bishop, Geoffrey embodied the Diocese in Europe in his own character and personality. He managed to remain a serious academic whilst also carrying out a demanding pastoral ministry. He was a great ambassador for a traditional, catholic, Anglicanism.”
Dr Rowell was involved in a wide range of ecumenical dialogues and committees, and served on both the Liturgical Commission and the Doctrine Commission.
In retirement at Fishbourne, he continued to pursue his studies and review for the Church Times. He chaired the Churches’ Funerals Group, and his own funeral will be held in Chichester Cathedral on Wednesday 5 July at 2.30 p.m.
Obituary to follow