Australian Dean Called to Rome

The Very Rev. John Shepherd has been appointed interim director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

Shepherd was dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Perth, from 1990 to 2014. He helped lead a $19 million capital campaign for a complete restoration and development of the cathedral and Old Deanery and constructing of the Cadogan Song School.

He was ordained at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1966 after completing his BA at the University of Melbourne. He also has a master of sacred music degree from Union Seminary in New York and a PhD from St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge. His doctorate focused on changes in the doctrine of sacrifice in sacred music during the English Reformation.

He has been a parish priest in Melbourne, in New York, in Manchester, and in Cambridge, and he was chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford, from 1980 to 1988. He is a contributor to the Expository Times and The Times in London.

Shepherd’s wife, Joy, was principal of St. Hilda’s Anglican Girls’ High School in Perth from 1997 to 2014.

As Shepherd retired from his work in Perth, Rhianna King of The West Australian reported on his desire to “sail the ship a little differently”:

[T]he often outspoken head of St George’s Cathedral has done just that, breaking ground by preaching at a Catholic cathedral, inviting Muslim and Buddhist leaders to speak at St George’s Cathedral and founding [the] study group Heretics Anonymous.

On the eve of his final Easter service Dr Shepherd, who is retiring in July, says he has never considered himself controversial and “just said what I think is true”.

Those truths include his support for gay marriage and an article in The West Australian in 2003 suggesting that the teachings of Christianity were largely symbolic and need not be taken literally.


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