Ireland’s New Primate

The Church of Ireland’s House of Bishops has elected the Rt. Rev. Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare since 1996, as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. The Most Rev. Alan Harper, archbishop and primate since 2007, retired Sept. 30.

Bishop Clarke’s translation and enthronement are scheduled for Dec. 15 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. Until then, the Ven. Raymond Hoey, Archdeacon of Armagh, will carry the responsibilities for the Diocese of Armagh. The Most Rev. Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, will carry the provincial responsibilities until December.

Bishop Clarke is 63 has two adult children and one grandson. His wife, Linda, died in 2009. Upon taking up his responsibilities as Archbishop of Armagh, he will be the 105th in the succession of abbots, bishops, and archbishops of Armagh since St Patrick.

The bishop is a graduate of Wesley College and Trinity College, Dublin, and King’s College, London. In 1982-95 he was reviews editor for Search: A Church of Ireland Journal. He is author of And Is It True? (2000), The Unharmonious Blacksmith (2002), and A Whisper of God (2006).

“I truly feel neither worthy of the heritage into which I am to enter nor adequate for the tasks that lie ahead,” Bishop Clarke said at St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. “The God of Christian belief is, however, a God of grace rather than a God who looks for human self-sufficiency. All I can pledge is that I will give this task the very best of which I am capable, and the prayer of all of us must be that God in his grace will enable some good to come from this.”

Adapted from Anglican Communion News Service

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