Donald Coggan bigraphy, stories - Archbishop of Canterbury

Donald Coggan : biography

9 October 1909 - 17 May 2000

Frederick Donald Coggan, Baron Coggan, PC (9 October 1909 – 17 May 2000) was the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974 to 1980, during which time he visited Rome and met the Pontiff, in company with Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, future Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. Previously he was chairman of the joint committee responsible for the translation of the New English Bible.


Life and work

Coggan served as curate of St Mary's Church, Islington from 1934 to 1937. He was ordained a priest in 1935, appointed Bishop of Bradford in 1956 and translated to Archbishop of York in 1961. After his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury he was granted a life peerage and made Baron Coggan, of Canterbury and Sissinghurst in the County of Kent.

Coggan's tenure as archbishop was noted for his strong support for the ordination of women (which did not happen in the Church of England until 1994), having proposed it at the Lambeth Conference of the world's Anglican bishops in 1970. His comparatively brief tenure was marked by his boldness, orderliness and punctuality.

Among his other roles was being Honorary President of the United Bible Societies from 1957 to 1976. His knowledge of the scriptures meant he made an enormous contribution to the furthering of the organisation. He also founded the Lord Coggan Memorial Fund which helped to supply Russian children with copies of the Bible.

Known for his warm welcome, he is commonly credited with remarking that "The art of hospitality is to make guests feel at home when you wish they were."Quoted in A Gentleman Publisher's Commonplace Book, John Murray, October 1996

Aside from his duties of his primacy, Coggan was a prolific writer – his works including Call To The Nation (1975). He was also a speaker and preacher, often accompanied by his wife, Jean Braithwaite with whom he had two daughters. Daily Telegraph Obituary. retrieved 16 November 2012 He died in Winchester, Hampshire. He was cremated and his ashes buried in the cloister garden at Canterbury Cathedral. His wife's ashes were also buried there.

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Living octopus

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