The office of bishop

The office of bishop embodies the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland’s adherence to the universality, unity and continuity of the Church. It represents to the diocese the church in its broadest sense – a worldwide Christendom united by a common faith, rather than the ELCF alone.

Bishops are the spiritual leaders and chief teachers of their diocese. They ordain its pastors and deacons, consecrate its churches, oversee and counsel all in ordained ministry, especially pastors, and ensure that the Church’s mission conforms to its confession. Each bishop’s jurisdiction – including that of the Archbishop – is limited to his or her own diocese.

As chair of the diocesan chapter, the bishop leads the diocese’s administration. On rare occasions, and always in accordance with specific rules, the bishop can directly intervene in the self-governance of the parishes in the diocese.

The bishops are ex officio members of the General Synod and meet six times a year at the Bishops’ Conference. The Conference is also attended by the Chaplain General to the Defence Forces.

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