Seabury, Samuel

(Nov. 30, 1729-Feb. 25, 1796). First bishop in the Episcopal Church. He was born in Groton, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale College in 1748. He read theology under his father and then studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, 1752-1753. Seabury was ordained deacon on Dec. 21, 1753, and priest on Dec. 23, 1753, in England. He was a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1754-1757, and rector at Jamaica, New York, 1757-1766. From 1766 to 1776 he served as rector of St. Peter's Church, Westchester, New York, and from 1776 to 1783 he was in private medical practice and chaplain to British troops at Staten Island and New York. He wrote forceful pamphlets in defense of loyalty to the British Crown. On Mar. 25, 1783, he was elected Bishop of Connecticut and was consecrated at Aberdeen, Scotland, Nov. 14, 1784, by three nonjuring bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. He also served as Bishop of Rhode Island, 1790-1796. Seabury served as Presiding Bishop, Oct. 5, 1789-Sept. 8, 1792. He was a high churchman in the tradition of the Nonjurors and the Caroline Divines. A valid episcopacy and the threefold orders of clergy were central concerns for him. He died in New London, Connecticut. Seabury and the passing of the episcopate to the Episcopal Church are commemorated on Nov. 14 in the Episcopal calendar of the church year. See Loyalty Oath to the English Sovereign.

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