Newly confirmed bishop-elect Gene Robinson's dark night of the soul lasted 24 hours as church officials considered last-minute allegations against him and then declared him innocent.

Now a different dark night begins for conservative Episcopalians who warned repeatedly that, in confirming the openly homosexual priest as the ninth bishop of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church is breaking with historic Christian orthodoxy and with the majority of 72 million Anglicans across the world.

Robinson needed 54 votes from among 107 bishops with jurisdiction—bishops in charge of dioceses—to be confirmed. He won 62. Immediately after Presiding Bishop Griswold announced the vote's results at just after 7 p.m. Thursday, nearly 20 bishops walked to the front of the room to affirm a statement read aloud by Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

"With grief too deep for words, the bishops who stand before you must reject this action of the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church," Duncan said, his voice breaking with emotion. "As faithful Episcopalians and members of this house, we are calling upon the Primates of the Anglican Communion, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in accordance with Lambeth Resolution III.6 (b), to intervene in the pastoral emergency that has overtaken us.

"May God have mercy on his church."

An investigation led by Bishop Gordon Scruton of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts cleared Robinson of last-minute allegations made by David Lewis of Manchester, Vermont. Lewis had written to Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont that Robinson had touched him inappropriately during a regional conference.

Scruton determined, from talking to Lewis via conference call, that Robinson had touched Lewis's ...

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