Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland concludes his ministry


Archbishop Clarke hands over the crozier at the end of the service.

The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke concluded his ministry as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland with a celebration of the Eucharist in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, on Sunday evening (2nd February).

Archbishop Clarke was joined by a large congregation from across the diocese and beyond, including all serving bishops of the Church of Ireland.

In his course of his sermon, the Archbishop spoke on the importance of Candlemas, the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, which properly concludes the season of Christmas. He remarked that on Christmas Day, the light of the world through Jesus “shines” on a small group of people; Mary, Joseph and the shepherds and then goes “out into a wider world” at Epiphany, with the arrival of the Wise Men.

The congregation was encouraged to carry the light of God to those “who do not encounter any light in their own lives.” He continued: “It is the great paradox of Christianity that the further you and I move out into the places of darkness and need, the closer we will be brought face to face with the living Christ.”

He quoted Archbishop William Temple’s prayer that we may never let go of His hand but “walk in daily fellowship with Him and so shall we go forth, not without stumbling, not without weariness, but always towards the love of God that awaits us in our Father’s house.”

Members of the congregation gathered afterwards for a reception in the refurbished Alexander Synod Hall where presentations were made to the Archbishop on behalf of the diocese.

In reply, the Archbishop remarked he was “absolutely thrilled” to see so many friends at the reception. He thanked God for nearly 45 years in the ordained ministry and “for the adventures and the experiences that I’ve had over those years” and the diocese “for making the past seven years, years that I will treasure forever.”

He remarked that Archbishop Eamon Martin, who was present in the audience, and he had “arrived at roughly the same time, both as blow��'ins” but had got to know each other very quickly.
“The friendship that has developed between us, I believe, is something that models something that I hope is valuable for Northern Ireland and is valuable for this diocese because it wasn’t simply a professional relationship. It was in every way a friendship.

He also thanked representatives from the central Church for their support and care during his time as Primate and commended the bishops of the Church of Ireland for their loyalty, support and kindness.