The Diocese of Ely is one of 44 dioceses of the Church of England. It comprises a group of over 344 parishes under the pastoral and administrative care of the diocesan bishop, the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral.
The diocese covers the county of Cambridgeshire (except for three parishes in the south which are in the diocese of Chelmsford); together with the western quarter of Norfolk, a few parishes in Peterborough and in Essex and one in Bedfordshire.
The Church of England belongs to that part of the Christian tradition known as the Anglican Communion, representing those in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and deriving their forms of worship and the orders of their bishops, priests and deacons from the Reformation settlement in England.
The 44 Church of England dioceses are divided into two Provinces, the Province of Canterbury (with 30 dioceses of which Ely is one) and the Province of York (with 14 dioceses). The archbishops of Canterbury and York have pastoral oversight over the bishops within their province, along with certain other rights and responsibilities.
The structure of dioceses within the Church of England was initially inherited from the Roman Catholic Church as part of the Reformation. The See of Ely was created in 1109 out of part of the Diocese of Lincoln.
The diocese has had its boundaries altered at various times, particularly by the inclusion of Huntingdonshire and Bedfordshire. But in 1914, in response to the growing population, Bedfordshire became part of the Diocese of St Albans, and western Suffolk became part of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, while Ely took a western part Norfolk. Most of the city of Peterborough remains the seat of the Diocese of Peterborough.
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