RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The leader of one of the largest Episcopal dioceses in the U.S. is retiring.

Fifty-nine-year-old Shannon Johnston said Friday he will resign as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia as of Nov. 3.

Johnston led the diocese through some of its most serious crises. When he joined the diocese in 2007, several of its largest and most prominent congregations were in the midst of splitting from The Episcopal Church in protest over the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The congregations sought to realign with more conservative worldwide Anglican church.

A lengthy court battle concluded with victories for the diocese, which was able to retain control of The Falls Church and Truro Church in northern Virginia, congregations that trace their roots to George Washington.