The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Revd Alan Harper, has been elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland.
Making the announcement in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on Wednesday January 10, the Most Revd Dr John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin said: “It gives me great personal delight to make this announcement, as I look forward, as indeed do all the Bishops, to working in partnership with Alan and under his leadership.
“Bishop Harper is a man of deep faith, great ability and pastoral insight and I am certain that he is the person that we were guided by the Holy Spirit to elect to this office. He will represent the Church of Ireland in situations in Ireland and beyond with great courage and clarity, and it will be a joy to work with him.”
Primate-elect Bishop Harper said: “I am deeply humbled and honoured by the trust placed in me by my colleagues. I pray that God will guide me in fulfilling the responsibilities of the role of Archbishop of Armagh. I am conscious of the privilege of serving the Church in this role.
The future Archbishop went on: “I look forward to meeting the people of my new diocese and those members of the Church throughout the island of Ireland.
“As I look forward, I also express sincere gratitude to the clergy and people of the diocese of Connor, where I have served for 22 years, the last six years as Bishop. They have nurtured me and welcomed me and my family into their homes and parishes, sharing both joys and sorrows.”
The House of Bishops decided that Bishop Harper’s election would take effect from February 2. 2007. In the meantime, the Dean and Chapter of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh have elected The Venerable Raymond Hoey, Archdeacon of Armagh to carry the diocesan responsibilities for the Diocese of Armagh. The Provincial responsibilities are carried by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Reverend John Neill until this date.
Upon taking up his responsibilities as Archbishop of Armagh, the Right Reverend Alan Harper will be the 104th in the succession of abbots, bishops and archbishops of Armagh since St Patrick.
Former Archbishop of Armagh, the Right Revd Robin Eames was quick to welcome Bishop Harper as his successor.
“I am delighted to learn of Bishop Harper’s election to the Primacy and I wish him God’s richest blessing as he prepares for new responsibilities. His many gifts which I have seen and appreciated at first hand together with his deep spirituality will equip him to provide the Church of Ireland with prayerful and wise leadership,” said the former Archbishop.
Christine and I wish him and Helen much blessing and happiness in the years ahead. I know they are assured of a warm welcome in Armagh diocese and throughout the Church.”