The new Bishop of Winchester has officially taken up office with a special ceremony this weekend. 

The Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen was announced as the new bishop in July 2023, and officially started in January.

Bishop Philip will serve as the 98th Bishop of Winchester Diocese, which covers 255 parishes across most of Hampshire, parts of Dorset, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.

His service of welcome was held at Winchester Cathedral on Saturday, January 13.

The last time the city saw such a service was more than a decade ago in 2012, when the Reverend Canon Dr Tim Dakin became the 97th bishop.

The service on Saturday began at the ancient church of St Lawrence in the city centre, where he made oaths and declarations. 

He was then met in The Square by the mayor of Winchester, Angela Clear, plus the headteacher and a pupil representative from The Bishop of Winchester Academy in Bournemouth.

With other Bishops of Hampshire, they walked to Winchester Cathedral, where Bishop Philip followed tradition by knocking on the West Door.

Steve Brine MP said: “After a difficult period for the Diocese, we welcome Bishop Philip who brings great experience and cheerfulness to one of the most important positions in the Church of England. I look forward to his wise counsel locally and to working with him as a fellow member of parliament given his place in the House of Lords.”

Speaking last year, Bishop Philip said: “Being a Bishop is all about serving other people and it’s a great honour to be called to be Bishop of Winchester.

"It’s a very ancient role within the church and the life of this country and I feel hugely privileged to be asked to do it.

“The biggest challenge we face is also our biggest opportunity, and it’s how can we best love and serve the people of Hampshire, Bournemouth and Christchurch and all the places that form the Diocese of Winchester.”

The service was a ticketed event, but the ceremony could be viewed online for free via a live stream.