Archbishop of Wales John Davies announces his retirement after four years

John Davies was elected Archbishop of Wales in September 2017. Credit: PA Images

The Archbishop of Wales has announced he is to retire in May after four years as leader of the Church in Wales.

John Davies, who turns 68 in February, was elected in September 2017. He is the 13th Archbishop of Wales and was the first Bishop of Swansea and Brecon to take up the post.

He succeeded Dr Barry Morgan, who held the office for 14 years before his retirement.

During his tenure, Archbishop John led the Church in Wales as it reached its centenary last year and also as it faced one of its toughest challenges in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

He described leadership as "both a privilege and a challenge", adding that he'd hoped to "make the Church better equipped, better understood, less mysterious and more welcoming".

Archbishop John was a criminal lawyer before entering the ministry. Credit: Church in Wales

Born in Newport, Archbishop John was formerly a solicitor specialising in criminal law, as well as being heavily involved with church life.

He left the legal profession before entering the ministry and was ordained in 1984. 

He retained a keen interest in issues of crime and punishment, with a particular concern about the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, the nature of criminality and the effects of poor social and educational standards.

He is also passionate about matters of social justice and has spoken out on a range of issues, including homelessness and housing, rural problems, organ donation, assisted dying and poverty. 

Following Archbishop John’s retirement, the Bishop of Bangor Andrew John will lead the Church until the election of a new Archbishop later in the year.

He said: “John has been steadfast and resolute in these most difficult of times, bringing much needed stability and offering a reassuring voice, both to those in the Church and to those in the wider community.

 “On behalf of his fellow bishops, I thank him for the oversight he has given us and send him our very best wishes for a long and happy retirement.”