Episcopal Diocese of Ohio

Diocese of Ohio

Dioecesis Ohioensis
Seal of the Diocese of Ohio
CountryUnited States
Territory48 northern counties of Ohio
Ecclesiastical provinceProvince V
Congregations82 (2022)
Members14,504 (2022)
DenominationEpiscopal Church
EstablishedJanuary 5, 1818
CathedralTrinity Cathedral
Current leadership
BishopAnne B. Jolly

The Diocese of Ohio is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion represented in the United States by The Episcopal Church. It was organized in 1817 and was the first diocese established outside of the original 13 colonies. The first bishop was Philander Chase. Since that time the Diocese has been served by 11 additional bishops. The 12th and current bishop, the Right Reverend Anne B. Jolly was ordained and consecrated as bishop in April 2023.

The Diocese of Ohio is a community of 15,000 baptized members in 80 parishes in the northern 48 counties of the State of Ohio.[1] The diocese was contiguous with the state of Ohio, but was divided into two dioceses in 1875, due to the geographical size of the diocese and the poor health of Bishops MacIlvaine and Bedell. The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, which retained the original name, and the Diocese of Southern Ohio headquartered in Cincinnati. It is one of 15 dioceses that make up the Province of the Midwest (Province 5).

Originally the diocesan see, or headquarters city, was located in Gambier in south-central Ohio, but moved to Cleveland shortly after the diocesan split. Offices are located on Euclid Avenue near Trinity Cathedral, the cathedral of the diocese.


As settlers and missionaries moved westward after the Revolutionary War, they brought their faith traditions with them, including those of the newly formed Episcopal Church. In the Ohio Territory, three clergyman served as early missionaries. Efforts in the Ohio Valley were led by Deacon James Kilbourne and Joseph Doddridge, while Roger Searle led efforts in the Western Reserve.[2] Shortly after Ohio was admitted to the Union, the first Episcopal church was established in the state at Worthington, near present-day Columbus in 1804. After years of fruitless petitions and through the hard work of missionaries and others, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church finally granted Ohio a separate diocese in 1818.[3]

Philander Chase

Philander Chase was elected first Bishop of Ohio in 1818 and consecrated as such in 1819. Chase returned from a fund raising trip to England in 1823 and established the diocesan headquarters and a new Episcopal college, Kenyon College, in Gambier. Kenyon College and Gambier were named for Lord Kenyon and Lord Gambier, the largest benefactors of the college and new diocese. Bishop Chase resigned after a leadership dispute in 1832 and soon moved to Illinois where he was elected first bishop of the Diocese of Illinois Illinois.

Charles Pettit McIlvaine succeeded him as Ohio's bishop and Kenyon College's president. The Rt. Rev. Charles McIlvaine was an ardent abolishionist and a leading advocate of the Evangelical movement, which called upon the Episcopal Church to turn from the more Anglo-catholic reforms of the Oxford Movement and return to a purer Protestant expression in the church. In December 1861 Bishop MacIlvaine was part of delegation sent to England by President Abraham Lincoln to assist in counteracting a hostile negative opinion which had arisen following "the Trent Affair."

Upon Bishop McIlvaine's death in 1873, Gregory Thurston Bedell became the Third Bishop of Ohio, having been consecrated as assistant bishop in 1859. Bishop Bedell had staunchly supported the Union in the Civil War, and, like McIlvaine, has been credited with keeping the Episcopal Church unified during this time, unlike many other denominations.[4] In 1875, the General Convention, at the request of the Convention of the Diocese of Ohio, split the diocese into two separate dioceses. The Diocese of Ohio favored more evangelical expression of worship and theology, and Bishop Bedell moved its headquarters to Cleveland at its northeast corner, in the growing urban areas along Lake Erie. Thomas Augustus Jaggar was then consecrated the first bishop of the new Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, which had some parishes favoring more Anglo-catholic styles and established its headquarters in Cincinnati in the state's southwestern corner.

William Andrew Leonard was consecrated as the Fourth Bishop of Ohio in 1889 and was responsible, with financial backing from William G. Mather, for constructing Trinity Cathedral, completed in 1907. Charles F. Schweinfurth designed the structure in English Perpendicular Gothic form from Indiana limestone.[5] Diocesan offices were located in the adjoining church house, where they remain.



Anne B. Jolly was consecrated as the 12th Bishop of Ohio on April 29, 2023"Office of the Bishop". Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.


Bishops who have served the diocese include:

  1. Philander Chase (1819-1832)
  2. Charles Pettit McIlvaine (1832-1873)
  3. Gregory T. Bedell (1873-1889)
  4. William Andrew Leonard (1889-1930)
  5. Warren Lincoln Rogers (1930-1938)
  6. Beverley D. Tucker (1938-1952)
  7. Nelson M. Burroughs (1952-1967)
  8. John Harris Burt (1967-1983)
  9. James R. Moodey (1983-1994)
  10. J. Clark Grew II (1994-2004)
  11. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr. (2004-2023)


  1. ^ "About the Diocese of Ohio". Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. Archived from the original on 2012-05-16.
  2. ^ Richards, Samuel J. (2018). "The East-West Divide and Frontier Efforts of the Reverend Dr. Joseph Doddridge". Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies. 85 (4): 460–487. doi:10.5325/pennhistory.85.4.0460. JSTOR 10.5325/pennhistory.85.4.0460.
  3. ^ "History of the Diocese of Southern Ohio". Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.
  4. ^ "Episcopalians". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. 2018-05-11.
  5. ^ "Trinity Cathedral". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. 2018-07-14.

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