The vote was the culmination of a long-running debate between traditionalist lay members, who have seen the change as contradicting the Bible, against those intent on modernizing centuries of tradition.
“Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing,” Archbishop Welby said in a statement issued by Lambeth Palace. “The challenge for us will be for the Church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds.”
In 2012, the previous vote on women bishops failed to garner the required two-thirds support within the General Synod, the Church’s governing body, despite the backing of the Houses of Bishops and Clergy.
Women bishops already hold office in the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.