The 1988 General Convention passed the legislation which created Episcopal Visitors. This legislation was to deal pastorally with those bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons who were unable to accept women bishops. It allowed the Presiding Bishop to designate members of the House of Bishops to act as Episcopal Visitors. They were to provide episcopal sacramental acts for Episcopal congregations upon the request and under the authority of the Ecclesiastical Authority of a diocese. This provision was only to be used for the time of transition as women were incorporated into all ordained ministries. This legislation expired upon adjournment of the 1994 General Convention on Sept. 2, 1994.
The term may be distinguished from a bishop visitor or protector, who serves as the guardian of the constitution of a religious order and as an arbiter in matters that the order or its members cannot resolve through its normal processes.