The Rt Revd Christopher Herbert has announced today that he will retire as Bishop of St Albans on January 7 2009, his 65th birthday.

Bishop Christopher's ministry will continue publicly and fully until November 8 2008 when the Diocese will say farewell to their bishop of 13 years at a Service in St Albans Abbey.

Shortly after that the Bishop, and his wife Jan, will begin the process of packing up at Abbey Gate House before taking a well-earned holiday.

The announcement comes during a typically busy week for Bishop Christopher.

It began on Saturday, hosting two bishops and parishioners from Italy and Sweden for the celebration of 100 years of prayer for Christian Unity at the Abbey and providing a reception for 80 people, visiting a Deanery Chapter, giving a Lecture, chairing a Bishop's Council meeting and ending on Friday, January 25, with the award of a Doctorate from Leicester University for his Thesis "English Easter Sepulchres: The History of an Idea".

The coming months, will, if anything, be fuller and busier as he carries out many duties for the last time and makes his final contributions to debate in the House of Lords.

He said: "I have always counted it a huge privilege to serve the people of the St Albans Diocese, from Bedfordshire and Luton through Hertfordshire to Barnet, helping Church and civic society to know each other and God better.

"As I look ahead to these last few months I realise how vibrant the diocese is and how much I have valued the tremendous variety of people in our communities and the many ways in which they express their thriving, living faith."