The current Dean of Liverpool has been appointed as the next Bishop of Durham.
The Very Rev Justin Welby replaces Tom Wright, who retired from the role last year to take up an academic position as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
Mr Welby, who has been Dean of Liverpool since 2007, said he was looking forward to being part of the continuing renewal of the ministry in the Diocese of Durham.
It is an area he is familiar with, having studied for his theology degree at Durham University from 1989 to 1992.
He it was a "huge privilege" to be appointed as the diocese's next bishop.
"It is an ancient Diocese, going way back before England itself existed. The heritage is extraordinary; Bishops of Durham stand on the shoulders of some of the greatest Christians that Europe has produced, from the 7th century to the 21st," he said.
"On this Ascension Day, I am reminded that the job is above all to ensure the Church of England is renewed in faith and experience of the power of God so that it can play its part in serving one of the most exciting and vibrant parts of the country."
The heritage and the strength of the area made being a good bishop there "about as challenging as it gets", he continued.
“I know that I have much to learn about the area and its issues. My first priority here will be to get around as much as possible and listen as carefully as possible to as many people as possible," he said.
Mr Welby said he was looking forward to joining other advocates for the North East in the House of Lords by way of his position as a Lord Spiritual.
“This, like Liverpool where we have lived for three and a half years, is a part of the country that has had a more than its fair share of hard times. Yet, also like Liverpool, it is full of fire and life and faith, and capable of attracting investment and energy from all over the world because of the qualities of its people and life here," he said.
"So my second priority is to learn how to be a good advocate for this area, and see the church continuing to contribute to its life and development, in faithfulness to Christ.
“This is a wonderful challenge and privilege, but there is a vast amount to take in.”