Claims that the term of the sitting bishop of Iceland ended last summer

Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir the bishop of Iceland.

Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir the bishop of Iceland. mbl.is/Ómar Óskarsson

The lawyer of former parish priest Gunnar Sigurjónsson in Digranes, questions whether the Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir has any formal authority to make decisions on behalf of the church on the affairs of Gunnar who was suspended on the grounds of sexual harrassment towards coworkers.

This is revealed in a letter sent by Audur Björg Jónsdóttir, a lawyer at JA Lögmenn, to the president of the church council. The lawyer requests a ruling from the church council on whether the bishop has the legal competence to deal with the matter.

The letter states that Agnes was appointed to office by the President of Iceland for a term of five years from July 1st, 2012 and at the end of that term, or July 1, 2017, her term of office was automatically extended for another five years until June 30th, 2022. From that time, she was not re-elected and lacked the legal authority to serve as a bishop.

The church council had voted in 2021 on extending the terms for bishops to serve to six year, but the lawyer in the letter states that it cannot apply to previous appointments without a valid legal extension of the previous term, and if granted, it would end on July 2023 this year.

The bishop, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, in a recent interview in Morgunblaðið stated that she will step down in the summer of 2024.

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