HE ENTERED as a bishop and left as a humble monk.

More than 300 worshippers, including civic dignitaries, filled St Woolos Cathedral in Newport last night for the Bishop of Monmouth Dominic Walker’s final service.

Bishop Dominic, who is retiring after ten years in the role, entered the cathedral carrying a crozier and wearing a mitre for his choral evensong.

During the service, led by Father Ray Hayter, worshippers sang O Praise ye the Lord!, Through all the Changing Scenes of Life, and Jerusalem the Golden.

Among those to speak were the dean, The Very Rev Lister Tong, who said it was a “bittersweet occasion” in moving from one chapter of the church’s life to another and spoke about the forthcoming election of his successor.

Canon Jennifer Mole thanked Bishop Dominic for the vision and encouragement he had shown in introducing new styles of ministry over the last few years.

She added: “Thank you for these and all the gifts you have bestowed upon us for the last ten years.”

His last duty, as is custom when a bishop is leaving, was to symbolically lay his crozier and his mitre on the altar.

He also took off his robes and made his way down the aisle of the cathedral dressed as a monk to rapturous applause.

Speaking after the service, Bishop Dominic said: “This was supposed to be a quiet occasion, so I am very moved to see so many people here.

“The thing I will miss is the people.

It is such a lovely diocese. I have some wonderful memories but among the most memorable is when I gave bible studies during Lent and 1,000 people attended.”

He described his job as a “great privilege” and added: “I have greatly enjoyed my teaching role in the diocese and the large crowds that have gathered for the Lent talks. I shall miss the staff team and the contact with so many people, but not the meetings and the paperwork.”

Bishop Dominic’s replacement will be elected on July 23.

At St Woolos, 47 people drawn from all over Wales, including all of its bishops, meet to nominate and vote on a confidential list of candidates.

The electoral college will have up to three days to make a decision.

Once it is made, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, will unlock and open the west door of the cathedral and announce the name of the bishop-elect from the doorstep.

The chosen candidate, if he accepts the position, will be formally confirmed by the archbishop at a special service in September.