Tributes paid to former Bishop of Ely Stephen Sykes - who died on Wednesday

Bishop Stephen Sykes

Bishop Stephen Sykes - Credit: Archant

A former Bishop of Ely, Stephen Sykes, has died aged 75.

Bishop Stephen passed away on Wednesday and leaves behind his wife, Joy, and children Juliet, Joanna and Richard.

He served as the Bishop of Ely between 1990 and 1999.

Paying tribute, Bishop Stephen Conway, the incumbent Bishop of Ely, said: “We all benefited from Bishop Stephen’s theological expertise and lively mind, and had hoped that retirement would give him time to write, travel and walk.

“He bore physical limitation with great dignity and never lost his interest in people.”

The funeral will take place in Durham and Bishop Stephen will be buried at the Arbory Trust woodland burial site in Cambridge.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Ely said: “Bishop Stephen was enormously proud to be appointed to the diocese he had loved since coming up to Cambridge as an undergraduate in the late 1950s.

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“He was elected Fellow and Dean of St John’s (his own College) in 1964, and occupied this position until 1974, when he was appointed Van Mildert Professor of Divinity in the University of Durham.

“This post was attached to a residentiary canonry and he quickly came to love Durham and its cathedral.

“1974 saw him returning to Cambridge as Regius Professor of Divinity. He and his family worshipped at St John’s, Hills Road, in Cambridge.

“The parish were delighted to have a distinguished theologian as an honorary curate and even more delighted when he became their bishop. He and Joy, his wife, soon became well-known and well-loved across the diocese.

“In 1999 he accepted the post of Principal of St John’s College in Durham, retiring in 2006. Not long after his retirement, the symptoms of a debilitating condition that would eventually confine him to a wheelchair began to appear.

“In the years that have followed, the community of St John’s College, Durham and the Cathedral Chapter of Durham have offered friendship and pastoral care.

“Bishop Stephen stood among the foremost scholars of Anglicanism and had an international reputation. Among his publications, The Study of Anglicanism has become a standard work.