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HISTORY OF THE DIOCESE OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Trinidad and Tobago is a two member state in the Southern Caribbean. The Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the Province of the West Indies and is part of the Anglican Communion, The Right Reverend Claude Berkley, Diocesan Bishop, is the twelfth Bishop of the Diocese, having assumed responsibility for the Diocese on December 18, 2011. He was enthroned on January 14, 2012.
Tobago was ceded to Britain by France in 1763. The first clergyman of the Anglican Church began work in Tobago in 1781 as part of the Diocese of Barbados.
Trinidad was captured from the Spanish by the British in 1797 and was formally ceded to Britain in 1802. The Reverend J.H. Clapham, the Chaplain to the armed forces, became the first Church of England Rector in Trinidad. The first Anglican church was built in 1801. The affairs of the Church were administered from England under the Archbishop of Canterbury until 1824 when the Church of England in Trinidad became part of the Diocese of Barbados.
In April 1872, Queen Victoria signed the Warrant for the separation of Trinidad from the Diocese of Barbados and on June 29, 1872 the Bishop Elect, the Right Reverend Richard Rawle was consecrated in Lichfield Cathedral as the first Bishop of Trinidad. On August 2 he arrived in Trinidad and was enthroned as Bishop of Trinidad on August 6 at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
In July 1873 an Ordinance was passed incorporating the Bishop and the Treasurers as Trustees with all necessary powers and vesting in them the Church properties.
In 1891 Tobago was joined to the Diocese of Trinidad and in 1895 the Bishop of Trinidad was given jurisdiction over the congregations and missions in Venezuela. Venezuela eventually became a separate diocese in 1975 and separated from the Province of the West Indies in 1981.
In 1899 Trinidad and Tobago were united administratively at that time, Tobago was a ward of Trinidad
Holy Trinity Cathedral
The Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Diocese, is situated at 30A Abercromby Street in the heart of the city of Port of Spain.
The first church to be built in Trinidad was the Trinity Church in 1801. This was destroyed by fire in 1808 and after an aborted attempt to replace it the present church was rebuilt and consecrated on Trinity Sunday in 1823. With the establishment of the Diocese of Trinidad in 1872 the Holy Trinity Church became the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
The Diocese Today
The Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago comprises thirty (30) parishes and one (1) district. The parishes are arranged in four regions – three in Trinidad and one in Tobago.