Bishop Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester and Lewes, is to be prosecuted over historic sex offences and misconduct charges.
An investigation by Sussex police into allegations of assault by the bishop has resulted in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing he was being charged.
The 82 year old of Langport, Somerset, is accused of the sexual abuse of a number of young males between 1977 and 1992 and misusing his authority to manipulate others for his own sexual gratification.
He is charged with misconduct in a public office between 1977 and 1992, indecent assault on a boy aged 13 or 12 in 1978 and indecent assault on a man aged 19 or 20 between 1980 and 1982.
He will appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on April 10th.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee said: "The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. But we can never be complacent.
"We would like to urge any victims or those with information to feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence."
"We have also put support systems in place for all those affected in anyway by today's charges. Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.
"Although we cannot comment on this case any further at the moment, lessons must be learnt and it is our mission that all our churches are places of safety and joy, of justice and the enrichment of life."