The new Church of England Bishop of Portsmouth was revealed today as Right Reverend Christopher Foster.

Downing Street today announced that Bishop Christopher, 56, who is currently Bishop of Hertford in the St Albans, will become the ninth Bishop of Portsmouth later this year.

He succeeds the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson, who was bishop for 14 years until he retired last autumn.

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The new bishop will be introduced at the top of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower today, from which he can see much of his new diocese – 142 Church of England parishes in south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Bishop Christopher will spend the day touring the diocese to visit some of his future colleagues and parishioners.

Bishop Christopher will take up the role once he is officially installed as Bishop of Portsmouth at a special service in Portsmouth Cathedral later this year, at a date to be announced.

He said: "Sally and I are looking forward to meeting the people of the diocese both in the churches and also in the wider community, and discerning how I and the church may serve them and the gospel.

“ There will be much to discover as I get to know this part of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the people, villages and towns.

“Christians are called to be visible and approachable, with the Bishop leading that witness and service. My role as Bishop of Portsmouth will be to lead a church that cares for people, encourages discipleship, shares in God's mission, and stands for truth and justice.

“So I shall enjoy the great variety of the diocese and its church life as I join with lay and ordained colleagues in living the good news of Jesus Christ."

Bishop Christopher grew up in the industrial West Midlands and in Surrey before studying economics at Durham and Manchester Universities and briefly working as an economics lecturer.

He studied at Westcott House, Cambridge, before his ordination in 1980. He was a curate in Wolverhampton before he became chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford.

He then became vicar of Christ Church, Southgate, in London (serving additionally as director of clergy continuing education), and then Sub Dean and residentiary canon at St Albans Cathedral in 1994.

He was consecrated as Bishop of Hertford in 2001.

He is a keen Wolves fan and is looking forward to what may be a crucial relegation battle with Portsmouth at Fratton Park in May.

He married Sally four years ago following the death of his first wife, Julia, in 2001. He has two grown-up children, Richard and Miriam.