Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell will today take up the historic Braganza Crozier – his staff of office – in a short ceremony at York Minster, following the legal Confirmation of his Election as the 98th Archbishop of York.

  • The Confirmation of Election service will be broadcast entirely via video due to the Covid-19 restrictions. This is available to watch at from 11.00am on the 9th July 2020.

The Confirmation of Election marks the moment at which Stephen becomes Archbishop of York, and will include music from York Minster Choir and Manor Church of England Academy, York. In the video that follows the service, young people from across the north of England will read a letter written by the mediaeval religious scholar Alcuin of York. Stephen will offer his first address as Archbishop of York. Prayers will be offered for the new Archbishop, the Diocese of York and the Northern Province of the Church of England, as well as for the wider world in these difficult times.

Following the service, the new Archbishop will make a short walk of pilgrimage through the streets of York to the shrine of St Margaret Clitherow. Here, he will be welcomed by the Rt Revd Terence Drainey, Roman Catholic Bishop of Middlesbrough. After a few moments of prayer, Archbishop Stephen will return to the Crypt of York Minster where he will pray at the tomb of St William of York.

The Archbishop will move to the Quire of York Minster where he will take up his Crozier in front of a small, socially distanced gathering drawn from his immediate staff representing the Archbishop’s Diocesan Leadership Team, Bishopthorpe Palace and York Minster.

The Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York said, “At a service of Enthronement, it is customary for a new bishop or Archbishop to knock three times on the West Door with his or her Crozier to request admission. The pandemic has meant that we have to defer Archbishop Elect Stephen’s Enthronement service for a while. So the ceremony today is a simplified and low-key beginning to his ministry.

“Once Archbishop Elect Stephen has picked up his Crozier from the High Altar he will move through the Minster to its West End. Here he will knock three times on the inside of the West Door which will then be opened to the world. This reversal of the usual symbolism is intended to signify the openness of the Church to the world and reflects Archbishop Elect Stephen’s desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the communities it serves.”

Stephen said, “The Church is the body of Christ. As such we are being formed in his likeness to be sent out into the world to bring hope, healing and wholeness. I like the symbolism of opening up the doors of the church as we go out and see and be where God is already at work.

“As I take up the role of Archbishop of York, my focus will be on prayer, and I want to begin by praying for the unity of the Church, for all those persecuted, and for the Northern Province of the Church of England. May we be united as the body of Christ, of one mind and purpose to see God’s Kingdom here on Earth.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said, “I am so excited about working with Archbishop Stephen to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ. The next few years are going to be a huge adventure. We will be exploring our way into being a new Church in a new world.

“I’m sad we’re not able to all be together in York Minster to celebrate, yet. But we know that God is present to us at all times through the Holy Spirit. I’ll be praying for Archbishop Stephen as he officially begins his new ministry and as we begin that new adventure.”

The Dean of York added: “We look forward to being able to gather more fully to celebrate the beginning of Archbishop Elect Stephen’s ministry in due course. For now, we are happy to welcome Stephen and his family in great love and we pray for him as he prepares for the challenges and the joys that his office will bring.”

  • To view the Confirmation of Election on the Church of England website:
    The link will be live just before 11.00am on Thursday 9th July 2020.
  • To view the video following the Confirmation of Election:
    The video will be live at 12.00 noon on Thursday 9th July 2020.
  • About Stephen Cottrell
  • About St Margaret Clitherow
    Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586), was a Roman Catholic in York when this was considered to be an act of treason. Executed in 1586, she was canonised in October 1970. Her shrine is located in a building in York’s medieval Shambles that used to be Margaret’s family home. For more information about St Margaret and to visit the shrine go to
  • About St William of York
    Believed to have been born in the late 11th century, William Fitzherbert was twice elected as Archbishop of York (1141 and 1153). He lived through turbulent times navigating religious and political intrigue. On his return to York in 1153 as Archbishop for the second time, the weight of jubilant crowds on the Ouse Bridge caused the structure to collapse into the river. William prayed to God to save the people from drowning and not a single life was lost. William died in 1154, widely believed to have been poisoned. The Miracle at Ouse Bridge and subsequent miraculous events attributed to William even after his death, resulted in his canonisation in 1224. His tomb is in the Crypt at York Minster. For more information go to
  • About the Braganza Crozier
    The wife of King Charles II, Queen Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705), was the daughter of King John IV, who in 1640 became the first king of Portugal from the House of Braganza. Catherine presented the crozier to James Smith, Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District on his consecration as Bishop of Calliopolis (the old name for what is now known as Gallipoli in Turkey) in the Chapel of Somerset House on 13 May 1688. The Braganza Crozier is a silver pastoral staff made in four sections (unscrews) with special case. The design is crook leaf and dot with the main crook decorated with leaves and the line of dots (or small bells) on the outside edge terminates with a figure of the Blessed Virgin and the Infant Jesus. Decorative detail includes the Coat of Arms of Portugal with a crown (Queen Catherine’s), five small shields and a Bishop’s hat with seven tassels.