THE Bishop of Monmouth has not performed any official duties since July last year.

Parishioners have come to us with what they say are serious concerns about what is going on within the Diocese of Monmouth after Richard Pain, bishop since 2013, has not been working at Newport Cathedral for the past six months.

And a spokeswoman from the office of the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies said: "In recent weeks there has been speculation regarding the Bishop of Monmouth and about relationships within his senior team.

"The Archbishop of Wales is aware of these issues and remains actively engaged, with all parties, in a formal process of mediation which seeks to resolve them.

“For reasons of confidentiality, and out of respect for those concerned in the ongoing mediation process, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

“We understand that many people are concerned and frustrated with the situation but we continue to ask for their patience until the matter is resolved.”


Picture of Newport Cathedral

It is also understood that Archbishop Davies has written to the diocese asking people to continue to hold Bishop Pain, his family and the diocese itself in their prayers.

A parishioner, who did not wish to be named, said: "We would expect the church to give a message of peace and reconciliation.

"Bishop Richard has been out of action since July. Initially we were told he was ill but this is not the reason for his prolonged absence. "

She added that she believed staff had raised grievances against Bishop Pain.

But Lister Tonge, the current dean of Newport Cathedral, said: "I must say that there has not been a breakdown in relations between myself, archdeacons or the bishop."

Another parishioner, who also did not wish to be named, said: "The Archbishop of Wales seems unable to resolve the impasse but has recently issued a statement to tell us that the bishop's absence will continue into 2019."

And another parishioner added: "Churches are undergoing serious problems - due to a lack of people going to church - and to not have a bishop in work makes the situation even worse. He is a fantastic bishop."