A gay Anglican priest who has been repeatedly passed over for promotion has been shortlisted to become the next episcopalian bishop of Brechin.

Jeffrey John was the first priest in an openly same-sex relationship to ever be nominated as a bishop in the Church of England as far back as 2003.

However, the now dean of St Albans has been passed over for a diocese of his own no fewer than seven times since.

Welsh-born Mr John, 65, has now set his sights on a move north of the border where the Scottish Episcopal Church has a more liberal attitude to sexuality.

The Anglican Communion, which includes Scottish, Irish, American and African Episcopalians as well as the Church of England, has been divided on gay rights and same-sex marriage for years.

The Church of England does not allow gay weddings but its priests are entitled to enter in to civil partnerships.

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The Scottish Church, in contrast, presided over its first same-sex weddings last year. The provost of the St Mary’s episcopal cathedral in Glasgow, Kelvin Holdsworth, is gay and has championed equality.

Candidates for the Brechin post are not allowed to comment. Mr John, however, has previously said that his failure to be shortlisted for a Welsh post was “directly related to my homosexuality and/or civil partnership.”

Episcopalians are looking to replace the Nigel Peyton, who retired as Bishop of Brechin last year. The church has seven dioceses with Brechin covering Angus and Dundee.

Read More: Church of Scotland votes to draft same-sex marriage legislation

Four clergymen have been shortlisted for the post. Mr John is up against Francis Bridger, who is currently dean of the diocese;Markus Dünzkofer, rector, St John the Evangelist Church, Edinburgh; and Andrew Swift, dean of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles.

All four candidates met with senior church figures, led by primus Mark Strange, on Saturday. The new bishop will be announced on June 2.

Around one in 100 Scottish residents are registered Episcopalians.

A Scottish Anglican Network was formed last year by members of the church unhappy with what they see as a pro-homosexuality stance. They are backed by African clerics.