A brief history of the Diocese in Europe
The Diocese developed from the decision in 1633 to place all overseas Church of England churches under the care of the Bishop of London, which continued until 1842 when the Diocese of Gibraltar was founded, to include mainly southern European chaplaincies, not least Alicante.
In 1883, the Bishop of London appointed one of his assistants, the Bishop of Fulham, to supervise the chaplaincies in north and central Europe.
In 1970 the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Fulham was extended to include north and central European chaplaincies along with those already within the Diocese of Gibraltar, and his title became the Bishop of Fulham & Gibraltar.
In 1980, a single new diocese was formed, called The Diocese in Europe, the 44th diocese of the Church of England, and the only one geographically outside England.
During this period of development, many other overseas Anglican dioceses and provinces were established, now part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, and run autonomously, not as part of the Church of England itself.
A brief history of the Costa Blanca Chaplaincy
Like many Anglican communities, the Costa Blanca Chaplaincy began when members of the Church of England (and other English-speaking Christians) started to worship together and enjoy their Christian fellowship.
In January 1971, Fr Cyril Mudford and his wife bought a retirement house near Javea. Word soon spread, and Fr Cyril began a ministry among the comparatively small number of Anglicans then living in the Javea area and elsewhere on the Costa Blanca. Sunday services were held, initially in the Mudfords’ home. Before long, the Archbishop of Valencia permitted the use of the Ermita del Popul, near the village of Jesus Pobre. This became the Chaplaincy’s first spiritual home, and our worship continues there today. Within six months the Bishop had licensed Fr Cyril as our first Honorary Chaplain.
In the course of the next few years, a large number of clergy were involved in our development, some previously retired and others still in active ministry. All have made a contribution to our expansion, during which time greater numbers of practising and nominal Anglicans have come to live in the area. This has meant that the numbers on our Electoral Roll have continued to hold up well. In addition to permanent residents, we are joined by many short-break holiday visitors, and those with second homes, who come and go throughout the year.
We now have one full-time priests, two part-time priests and a licensed Reader in the team, as well as a number of active retired clergy who regularly share in the task of leading worship.
The lay leadership within the Chaplaincy is strong, with large numbers of people taking responsibility for the running of our common life, as well as each of our individual church congregations. Despite considerable geographical distance between some of these, there is a unity of spirit, and a common ownership of what is in fact a single parish, spread over a distance of some 7000 square kilometres, with an Anglican and English-speaking population of several thousand.