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Bishop to lead Melbourne Cathedral

Bishop Mark Burton, a registered nurse and Iraq War navy veteran, has been named dean of Melborne's Anglican Cathedral.

Barney Zwartz in the Melbourne Age   |  10 Oct 2008  |

Bishop Mark Burton, a registered nurse and Iraq War navy veteran, has been named dean of St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne.

It might seem a backward step, from bishop to dean — the process is much more often the other way round — but Dr Burton, 52, is an unusual cleric.

The first male registered nurse to graduate from Sydney's Children's Hospital, Dr Burton put his skills to good use when he was vicar of St James' in Glen Iris.

"We did a lot of red blanket (emergency aid) trauma management at car crashes in the middle of the intersection outside the church," Dr Burton recalls.

He did his theology degree at Melbourne's Ridley College, and served as curate in Werribee and chaplain to Archbishop Keith Rayner.

In 2001 he began five years' service in the Royal Australian Navy, including work as both chaplain and part of the medical team in the Persian Gulf and Aceh, before being consecrated an assistant bishop in Perth in 2006. His doctorate was in a Christian-Jewish theology of the Holocaust.

Asked about his theological inclination in the evenly divided diocese of Melbourne, Dr Burton said he was "a small-e evangelical who blossomed under small-c Catholics, which probably puts my bowling somewhere on middle stump".

Dr Burton, who takes up the post of dean on November 23, said the cathedral's doors would be literally and metaphorically open to the city.

He criticised the "apocalyptic language of crisis" being used to describe the global financial turmoil, saying it had become overpowering for young people.

Dr Burton is married and has three daughters, all of whom live on the Mornington Peninsula.

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