The Church of England has voted in favour of allowing women to become bishops, in an move that overturns centuries of tradition and decades of division.
After almost five hours of debate, its governing body, the General Synod, approved the proposal at a meeting in the northern English city of York.
The revolutionary change was backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, who says he is
delighted with the result.
The Church approved the ordination of women priests in 1992, but delayed making them bishops because of opposition within its previously all-male clergy.
Previous draft legislation on women bishops was narrowly rejected by the Synod in 2012, to widespread dismay.
Women already serve as bishops in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand but Anglican churches in many developing countries still refuse to ordain them as priests.