The dean of the Washington National Cathedral says he will retire at the end of the year.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall has served as a progressive leader of what's often considered the nation's church for three years. He helped balance the cathedral's budget after years of financial struggle and opened the church to same-sex marriages.

Hall says the seat of the Episcopal Church is entering a new era and needs a long-term leader for a decade or more. Hall announced his plans to the cathedral community in a letter Tuesday with two years remaining on his contract.

The 66-year-old says the cathedral will pursue a major capital campaign to increase its endowment and finish repairs from earthquake damage at a time when American religion is changing.