An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Griswold, Alexander Viets

(Apr. 22, 1766-Feb. 15, 1843). Bishop and evangelist. He was born in Simsbury, Connecticut. He was educated privately by his uncle, a priest. Although he cultivated a small farm as a young man, he decided in 1794 to study for ordination. He was ordained deacon on June 7, 1795, and priest on Oct. 1, 1795. He served three small churches in Litchfield County. Griswold was chosen rector of St. Michael's Church, Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1804. Following the organization of the Eastern Diocese, a jurisdiction that included all of New England except Connecticut, he was elected bishop and consecrated on May 31, 1811. He remained in parishes until 1835 when he devoted himself wholly to episcopal duties. He also served as the Episcopal Church's fifth Presiding Bishop from July 17, 1836, until his death. After being elected bishop, Griswold underwent a conversion experience. His preaching and piety became markedly evangelical. A tremendous spiritual awakening occurred throughout his diocese. Church membership increased approximately tenfold between 1790 and 1840. Griswold died in Boston, and the Eastern Diocese ceased to exist shortly thereafter.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.